News Release: Health Unit Cautiously Easing Restrictions on Local Businesses
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Monday, October 4, 2021 | 10:45 a.m. | Windsor-Essex County
At the start of September, in an effort to control rising COVID-19 cases, the WECHU under the direction of former Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Wajid Ahmed implemented a letter of instruction enhancing public health measures for special event venues, bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. Among other restrictions, the letter prohibited bars, restaurants, nightclubs and adult entertainment venues from operating after midnight, dancing indoors, and capped capacity at 100 for gatherings associated with weddings and funerals. Now, a month after the implementation of the health unit’s Letter of Instruction, the WECHU is announcing it will be pulling back on these restrictions.
The decision to rescind the letter of instruction issued on September 3rd was based on a number of factors including the introduction of the provincial proof of vaccination system according to Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Shanker Nesathurai; “The decision to modify public health guidance is always carefully considered relative to a number of factors. The number of cases is a key consideration, but the measures put in place by other levels of government, the level of protection currently provided to our community in terms of vaccine coverage, and the settings and sources of acquisition amongst our cases all have an influence on the level of risk in the community.” The health unit will be replacing the previous letter with a new one issued under Dr. Nesathurai which will detail local public health direction now that the previous rules have been rescinded. Putting faith in local businesses to follow the local and provincial guidance and holding those who do not accountable, is at the centre of the updated strategy; “With a month of information collected following the implementation of the previous letter, we have reached a point where we can take a targeted enforcement approach with specific businesses who refuse to follow rules, while cautiously easing the restrictions on the entire sector. By limiting access to only those that are fully vaccinated and maintaining public health measures the risk of spread of COVID-19 is significantly lower”, said health unit CEO Nicole Dupuis.
The new Letter of Instruction can be found on the WECHU’s website along with additional resources for businesses and residents to follow to keep themselves, and their patrons safe.