Let’s not mess this up

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There was a certain amount of relief around North Grenville when Premier Ford announced that we would be entering Phase 3 of the re-opening of Ontario. Last Friday, restaurants and other facilities were allowed to have customers come inside and sit for a while, almost like it used to be. So far, so good.

But many of the owners of these businesses are deeply concerned about how the public will behave, now that there is a relaxation of the more rigid measures against the pandemic. Luc and Scott, at Geronimo, and Kika at Brewed Awakening, are worried that customers will not abide by the face covering and social distancing that is still required in public places like their coffee shops.

Already, owners have been seeing people refusing to wear face coverings, ignoring social distancing rules, even before Phase 3 was implemented. Now they fear that the rules will be even harder to enforce. Business owners do not want to antagonise or insult their customers – they are the life’s blood of their business. So it is very difficult for them to know how best to deal with the recalcitrant, those putting servers and other customers in harm’s way by not keeping their distance, and not wearing a mask.

The province’s guidelines are clear on how to behave in restaurants and bars. “As of July 7, 2020, all persons entering or remaining in the public space of such premises must wear a face covering/mask that securely covers the nose, mouth, and chin as required by the Medical Officer of Health under the authority of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) Ontario Regulation 263/20″.

  • All patrons must be seated when eating or drinking at the establishment.
  • Establishments must take appropriate measures to ensure physical distancing of at least two metres between patrons from different tables, unless separated by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier.
  • Buffet-style service is not yet permitted in Stage 3.

When you enter a business, wear your mask and keep a proper distance from others. When you have your food, remove the mask for eating, obviously, but put it back on when leaving or moving around the property.

Other countries and jurisdictions have found that the number of covid cases rise once restrictions are lifted. Some places have had to reinstate restrictions when the public have failed to follow guidelines on proper measures and behaviour. This is not what we want in our community, obviously. To date, Leeds & Grenville have been only lightly impacted by the pandemic, for which we should be grateful.

Between July 3 and July 17, there were two new confirmed cases of covid-19 in the Leeds Grenville Lanark District Health Unit [LGLDHU] region, but no death in that period. The death toll for the entire length of the pandemic in the LGLDHU is 52, with all but 3 of these taking place in long-term care/residential homes.

As of July 17, there was only one active confirmed case in the region, and that was in the Lanark East sector. There are no active cases in any long-term care/residential homes.
Let’s take care of each other and keep everyone safe and well as we move towards a more normal life.

A detailed guide for re-opening in Phase 3 is available at: https://healthunit.org/coronavirus.

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