Windsor-Essex, last region of Ontario in stage 2, finally moves to stage 3 of the reopening

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The Ontario government has authorized Windsor-Essex to proceed to Stage 3 of the reopening effective Wednesday August 12.The region has seen a drop in new COVID-19 cases over the past week and increased capacity at local hospitals – two factors the government has described as key criteria for moving forward.

Over the weekend, 11 new cases were reported.

“Thanks to the collective efforts of our frontline healthcare workers, public health experts and the people of Windsor-Essex, more businesses in the region can hang their ‘Open for Business’ sign and more people. can return to work as of Wednesday, ”Premier Doug Ford said in a press release.

“As all of Ontario now enters Stage 3, I ask everyone to stay on guard and continue to monitor public health measures to protect the tremendous progress we’ve made and keep this deadly virus at bay .

Most of the province moved to Stage 3 on July 17, with the exception of Windsor-Essex, the Greater Toronto Area and other parts of southern Ontario. Toronto and the Region of Peel were cleared to participate in Stage 3 on July 31.

The region’s medical officer of health, Dr Wajid Ahmed, welcomed the news on Monday but warned residents to continue to apply the security measures advised by public health.

He said he would feel more comfortable “if we don’t see more cases increasing when we open more. Please keep in mind that going to stage 3 does not mean that the virus is gone ”.

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported 11 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday and the region has seen a steady decline in new cases over the past week.

The curve of new COVID cases in Windsor-Essex has declined over the past week, after seeing significant spikes in May and June due to outbreaks on Essex County farms. (Windsor-Essex County Health Unit)

Significant spikes were reported in May and June as outbreaks quickly spread among agricultural workers in the region – primarily those visiting Canada under the federal government’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

Of the 2,379 cases seen in Windsor-Essex since the start of the pandemic, 1,137 cases have involved farm workers and two migrant farm workers from Mexico have died after contracting the disease here.

“Right now, the farms we’re dealing with – obviously the epidemic is under control on these farms, but there are new farms and epidemics continuing to happen,” Ahmed said on Monday.

The doctor has been a strong advocate for better housing protocols for migrant workers, which he attributed to being a major factor in the spread of the virus among this population.

Outbreaks on Essex County farms have prompted the province to send emergency medical teams and the Red Cross for help.

More indoor activities

Stage 3 will allow activities such as indoor dining at restaurants, live performing arts shows, and reopening of cinemas and playgrounds – albeit with health and safety measures important in place, including physical distance, improved cleaning protocols and plexiglass barriers.

Indoor gatherings of up to 50 people and outdoor gatherings of up to 100 people are also authorized. However, according to the plan, physical distance remains a requirement for all people who are not from the same household or the same established social circle.

Charity casinos and gaming establishments may open but must adhere to assembly limits and physical distancing measures. Table games will remain closed for the time being.

The province says “nightclubs are not yet safe to open” except for serving food and drink. Singing and dancing “may be performed by one person or a group in the restaurant or bar with restrictions.” As for dancing, this can only be done “by someone who works in the establishment with restrictions”.

Want to eat at the buffet? You will have to wait, as they cannot open in step 3.

Saunas, hammams, baths and oxygen bars must also remain closed.

The plan also says that people who gather indoors for church services, weddings or funerals can continue to fill up to 30% of a room’s capacity in Stage 3.

It also states that sports facilities and gymnasiums can reopen, but notes that physical distance should be maintained, “unless you play team sport or if necessary for personal training”.

Amusement parks and water parks are currently not allowed to reopen in stage 3.

More soon.

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