EOHU shares results of COVID-19 enforcement campaign

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By Nick Seebruch
EOHU shares results of COVID-19 enforcement campaign

CORNWALL, Ontario – The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) has shared the results of the provincial education and enforcement campaign of COVID-19 restrictions as they applied to businesses.

Multi-ministry teams along with the EOHU visited 263 businesses, mostly between Dec. 3 and 5 to educate and enforce COVID-19 restrictions. These restrictions vary across different types of businesses but include rules such as mask wearing indoors, limiting the number of individuals inside an establishment, having a safety plan, and screening employees and patrons for COVID-19 symptoms.

Of the 263 businesses visited by these teams, 156 of these businesses were retail establishments such as grocery, big box, convenience, clothing, hardware, and pharmacies. The teams also visited 79 restaurants, 24 fitness centres, and four personal care service businesses.

Of the businesses that were visited, 59 per cent were found to be totally compliant with the restrictions. The remaining 41 per cent of businesses were found to at least in some way, be not in compliance with the provincial regulations.

The provincial teams found 145 breaches of the provincial COVID-19 restrictions.

The most common contravention at 30 per cent was that businesses in high-risk settings did not have safety plans or they were inadequate. Screening was also a source of concern with 29 per cent of the 145 breaches found by the ministry teams were related to businesses not adequately screening employees for COVID-19 symptoms.

The ministry teams also found that of the breaches they found, 27 per cent were related to managers or staff members not wearing masks while indoors or wearing them improperly.

The EOHU states that most of these contraventions were corrected immediately by the businesses in question, but that 11 warning and one ticket were still issued.

“We recognize that the shutdown and the various public health measures have posed some challenges and required significant efforts from our local businesses and organizers, and I want to applaud them for their efforts,” states Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health. “But as the provincial campaign has shown, there is room for improvement. We must remain vigilant. With variants of concern being detected across Ontario, the public health measures are all the more important to prevent a resurgence in cases. EOHU staff are there to support our local businesses and organizers as they navigate public health measures and regulations, which can shift rapidly in response to the evolving circumstances of the pandemic.”

The EOHU states that another round of inspections is expected soon.

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