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Health Unit issues new guidelines to enforce social distancing in grocery stores

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By Nick Seebruch
Health Unit issues new guidelines to enforce social distancing in grocery stores
A stock image of groceries.

CORNWALL, Ontario – Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Chief Medical Officer of Health with the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) issued a new order late on Friday night to provide guidance to grocery stores and other essential businesses.

The order, which cam into effect at 11:59 p.m. on April 3 covers crowd control, hygiene, training for employees amongst other measures.

The new guidelines for crowd control include have an employee at the front door to manage the in flow and outflow of customers, have an employee monitor the parking lot, have tape six ft. apart within the store to mark a safe social distance, and more.

Stores are also being told to disinfect shopping carts and other high traffic areas, to have plexiglass protect cashiers, and to have hand washing stations.

The EOHU is also directing stores to screen employees for COVID-19 symptoms and train them on the proper safe handling of cash and hygienic protocols.

Finally, the Health Unit is stating that stores should not allow customers to buy items in bulk, to remove loose complimentary items from the cash area, like straws, and to have only one cash register accept cash.

“Ensuring that grocery stores, convenience stores and pharmacies follow infection prevention measures will further prevent the risk of spreading COVID-19,” said Dr. Roumeliotis.

Dr. Roumeliotis stated that the Health Unit and local by-law and police services would be helping stores to enforce these measures.

The full list of instructions can be found on the EOHU website.

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