Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative
A photo circulating on social media displaying shoppers in close proximity as they wait to enter the Winners on St. Clair Street has Chatham-Kent residents up in arms.
Dr. David Colby, Chatham-Kent’s medical officer of health, said it is unlikely the retail store has much control of what goes on outside their doors, but he was disappointed nonetheless to see customers in close quarters.
“By and large, people have been very compliant. They’ve done what we’ve asked and that’s another reason why our (COVID-19) numbers reflect that because we have a large buy-in from people, but it’s also understandable that everybody’s getting Cabin Fever,” he said.
However, if the trend continues, Public Health will have to re-think some of its opening strategies and enforcement manoeuvres.
While it is provincially mandated to limit the number of customers inside a store at a given time, there are no regulations that address outside line-ups or how to control them.
There are 2-metre markers outside the store, but Colby added that it is not mandatory to have a security officer stationed at a store for crowd control.
Public Health will be speaking with management at Winners to prevent further incidents in the future.
Don Shropshire, Chatham-Kent chief administrative officer, said health inspectors and bylaw officers have the right to enforce the bylaws related to the COVID-19 safety orders, however there aren’t enough to check every store.