Two new local cases of COVID-19
Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative
Chatham-Kent is one of many regions across the province that received the green light to enter Stage 3 of reopening.
On Monday, Premier Doug Ford announced at a press briefing what that phase will look like.
Nearly all businesses and public spaces will be allowed to reopen as of Friday. Indoor gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 50 people, and outdoor gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 100 people. Gathering limits are subject to physical distancing requirements.
According to the province, certain places deemed high-risk are not yet safe to open due to the likelihood of large crowds congregating and difficulties with physical distancing:
- Amusement parks and water parks;
- Buffet-style food services;
- Dancing at restaurants and bars, other than by performers hired by the establishment following specific requirements;
- Overnight stays at camps for children;
- Private karaoke rooms;
- Prolonged or deliberate contact while playing sports;
- Saunas, steam rooms, bath houses and oxygen bars;
- Table games at casinos and gaming establishments.
Regional medical officers of health have the authority to take a harder line on reopening measures. For instance, during Stage 2 of reopening, Chatham-Kent’s medical officer of health, Dr. David Colby, overrode the provincial decision to allow splash pads to open.
CK Public Health officials said Colby, was unavailable for comment Monday and that local information regarding Stage 3 will be issued later this week.
Over the weekend, Chatham-Kent saw two new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 168. Ten of the cases remain active.
Lambton Public Health reported one new case in the past two weeks. Two cases remain active.
Despite having less active cases than Chatham-Kent, Sarnia-Lambton businesses will have to wait a little while longer before they enter Stage 3. Windsor-Essex was also left off the list.
“We all know these regions entered Stage 2 later on, so we need just a little more time,” said Ford. “We won’t leave anyone behind and we will provide an update every Monday on regional reopenings.”
Minister of Health Christine Elliott added that she would like to see four weeks of data, from the date these regions entered Stage 2, before allowing them to open further.