Dr Shanker Nesathurai, acting physician with the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, issued a letter of instruction on Sunday detailing the new measures. “Given the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 on the Windsor-Essex area… I am giving these instructions to control the spread of COVID-19,” Nesathurai wrote.
The new measures, which go beyond provincial regulations, take effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday and will remain in place until further notice, Nesathurai said.
They impose a maximum of 10 people allowed to participate in an indoor social gathering, except for weddings and funerals, and a maximum of 25 people if the gathering is held outdoors.
Gatherings associated with a wedding, funeral, or religious service or ceremony must ensure assigned seats for all participants and that everyone wears a mask or face covering, except when in their assigned seat and consuming fuel. food or drink. Capacity is limited, so physical distancing can be maintained.
People should also keep a list of the names and numbers of all participants in a social gathering and make them available immediately upon request from the public health unit.
Among other measures, businesses and organizations should review workplace safety plans with their employees at least once a month and make any necessary adjustments. They must also allow remote work for employees, to the extent possible, and limit the gathering of employees.
Restaurants and bars, as well as meeting and event spaces, should limit their indoor capacity to 50% to allow physical distancing and display visible signage indicating the number of people allowed within that limit.
Nesathurai noted that failure to comply with provincial requirements and those identified in the letter of instruction is an offense under the Ontario Reopening Act, for which a person, business or organization can be held. responsible.
The new measures come in the wake of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, as well as three local hospitals and local paramedics, warning of acute care and hospital capacity issues.
In a joint statement released on Friday, the groups said there had been a recent increase in the number of patients with COVID-19 and other respiratory conditions.
They said patients should expect wait times and treatments for things other than emergencies to be much longer than usual, and those without emergencies should seek treatment. care elsewhere, such as family physicians and clinics, to help ease pressure on hospitals.
They also said they were seeing a dramatic increase in the number of young children with severe respiratory problems requiring a higher level of immediate care, noting that 11 children with respiratory syncytial virus had to be transferred from Windsor Regional Hospital. to hospitals in London, Ontario. , or Detroit.
“We need to work to preserve the capacity of our health care system for patients. Our local partners will continue to work together to ensure that our regional system is able to handle an influx of patients that will challenge our ability to ensure timely access to care, ”the groups said. in the statement.