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News & Notices

Key messages from Dr. Gardner, Medical Officer of Health

Posted: November 27, 2020

COVID-19 Update for Partners

Thurs. Nov 26th, 2020
1. Simcoe Muskoka moved into ORANGE-Restrict as of Monday morning
Changes include:

• Restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments, meeting and event spaces – Limit of 4 people seated together, reduced from 6 people. Regardless of size of space there is a 50-person capacity, with minimum 2 metres between tables. Reduced hours – close at 10:00 p.m. Reduced hours for liquor sales, serving, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. only. Require screening of patrons (ie. questionnaire).
• Retail - Limiting capacity in retail stores and in shopping malls in winter based on 2 meters of physical distancing. For malls - require screening of patrons at mall entrances (ie. questionnaire).
• Personal Care Services - Services requiring removal of face coverings prohibited. Change rooms and showers closed. Bath houses, other adult venues, hot tubs, floating pools and sensory deprivation pods closed (some exceptions). Require screening of patrons (ie. questionnaire).
• Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments – Liquor sales, serving restricted to 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. No consumption after 10 p.m. Require screening of patrons (ie. questionnaire).

2. Letter to Municipalities
The COVID-19 Response Framework strongly recommends that individuals and families in higher transmission areas should avoid travel to lower transmission areas (ie. from Red to Orange, from Yellow to Green) except for essential reasons. In keeping with this, I am strongly urging the County of Simcoe and District of Muskoka to prohibit access to their recreational facilities to individuals whose primary residence lies within the Red/Control and Grey/Lockdown areas.

3. Letter of Instruction for Simcoe Muskoka Businesses and Organizations Today I will be issuing a letter of instruction to businesses and organizations within the municipalities serviced by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) requiring them to take additional measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Since September 2020, SMDHU has observed a substantial increase in workplace transmission, often resulting in outbreaks. The letter outlines requirements to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, such as:

• Enable remote work for workers, where reasonably possible.

• Appoint a Compliance Officer who makes sure all requirements are in place.

• Ensure active screening is conducted daily for all workers attending the workplace inperson. Screening should occur before or when a worker enters the workplace at the beginning of their day or shift.

• Ensure all unplanned absences by workers are investigated by the Compliance Officer for any risk of COVID-19 exposure, and, those workers with COVID-19 symptoms, are to be encouraged by the Compliance Officer to self-isolate and seek assessment and testing.

• Ensure physical distancing of at least 2 metres between employees, where reasonably possible, including during eating and rest periods (ie. lunchrooms and change rooms). Where physical distancing is not possible personal protective equipment that provides protection of eyes, nose, mouth and chin shall be used in accordance with the Regulations under the Reopening Ontario Act.

Full details are in the letter and businesses will be required to comply with the above instructions as set out in the Regulations under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020. Enforcement associated with these instructions may be conducted by police officers as well as provincial offences officers (which includes municipal bylaw offers and public health enforcement personnel. Fines are be dependent on the type of infraction.

4. Special statement to all residents

We are facing a critical time and must increase our efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19. This second wave threatens our health and lives, and the ability of our healthcare system to manage the increased demands on its services…” It is only through our personal and societal actions that we will be able to collectively slow the spread of COVID-19, allowing us to keep our communities safe and healthy and our schools, organizations and businesses open… I am asking all residents of Simcoe Muskoka to take the following actions immediately:
Close Contact, Gatherings and Events
• Limit close contact to your household (the people you live with). Individuals who live alone, may consider having close contact with one other household.
• Physical distance (two metres) from everyone else outside of your immediate household.
• Wear a face covering indoors, outdoors if physical distancing cannot be maintained, or if wearing one is required.
• Adhere to provincial and applicable local restrictions on public and private gatherings.
• Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others.
• Individuals and families in higher transmission areas should avoid travel to lower transmission areas (ie. from Red to Orange, from Yellow to Green) except for essential reasons.
• Individuals and families who consider travelling to another province for essential reasons during the holidays should:

  1. Consider the risk associated with travelling, including COVID-19 transmission in the other province, entry requirements (ie. quarantine).
  2. Self-quarantine, or drastically reduce close contact with others 10 to 14 days before travelling and after returning home. This will help lower the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

• Follow general (Ontario) public health advice, as well as any rules and regulations of the province you visit.

General Advice

• Stay home if you have symptoms, even if they are mild.
• Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly.
• Cover your cough.
• Download the COVID Alert mobile app.
• Get tested if you have symptoms compatible with COVID-19, or if you’ve been advised of exposure by the health unit or through the COVID Alert mobile app.”
COVID-19 Update.pdf (253 KB)


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