WECHU ends early closure, ban on dancing for bars and restaurants

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) is repealing additional public health restrictions that were placed on bars, restaurants and weddings last month as COVID-19 cases skyrocketed.

Acting medical officer of health Dr Shanker Nesathurai said Monday morning that a letter of instructions requiring bars and nightclubs to close at midnight and ban dancing had been canceled.

The letter also required weddings and funerals to have a maximum capacity of 100 people or less if a social distancing of two meters cannot be maintained.

WECHU CEO Nicole Dupuis said the region has seen a reduction in cases associated with these parameters as well as overall. Additionally, the province’s vaccination certification program, which means only those vaccinated can enter indoor bars and restaurants, is now in effect.

“We know this significantly reduces the risk of COVID-19, the risk of the spread and transmission of COVID-19,” she said during a virtual media availability Monday morning.

The revocation takes effect immediately, she said.

The previous rules, which took effect on September 7, were announced as Windsor-Essex had more than 500 active cases of COVID-19, along with some of the highest COVID-19 and test positivity rates in Province.

Some in the hospitality sector demanded an end to restrictions following the implementation of the provincial vaccination passport system.

The petition called for an end to the “curfew”

An online petition calling on WECHU to revoke the rules has received more than 1,700 signatures.

It was started by a group of bar and restaurant owners, WKND Hospitality Group, which owns The Bull & Barrel, The Goat Tap & Eateries and Wild Child Nightlife.

Matt Komsa, one of the co-owners of WKND Hospitality, said in an interview last week that downtown Windsor is booming, but business has slowed down after establishments were told to close at midnight.

He warned of the dire consequences if the mandates of the health unit remained in effect for an extended period.

“You will see layoffs, you will see overdue payments and you will see businesses closing down downtown. I can guarantee that,” he said.

Health service reports 100 new cases

The health unit said Windsor-Essex had recorded an increase of 100 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday. Of the additional cases, 32 were reported on Saturday, 40 on Sunday and 28 on Monday.

Fifteen people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19.

A total of 278 cases are active in the region, as well as 25 epidemics.

A potential exhibition site was also announced on Monday. Anyone who has visited Buffalo Wild Wing at 3100 Howard Ave. at the times listed below should monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days after exposure and be tested if symptoms develop.

Exposure time:

  • Sep 25: 4:00 p.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • Sep 26: 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Sep 27: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Sep 28: 8 am-5.45pm
  • Sep 29: 4 p.m. – 1 a.m.

A total of fourteen outbreaks occur in the workplace:

  • Six workplaces are in the agricultural sector.
  • Five workplaces are in the health care and social assistance sector.
  • Two workplaces are in the manufacturing sector.
  • A workplace is within a framework of public administration.

Outbreaks are underway in six schools, including a newly declared outbreak at Georges-P.-Vanier Catholic Elementary School.

The rest of the epidemics take place in the following schools.

  • Sainte-Ursule Catholic Elementary School.
  • West Sandwich Public School.
  • Saint-André Catholic French Immersion School.
  • Ford City Public School.
  • Al-Hijra Academy.

A new outbreak of COVID-19 has been declared at the downtown mission, while two other community settings are also in an outbreak: St. Clair College and one at the Salvation Army.

Two long-term care homes, The Village at St. Clair and La Chaumière Retirement Residence, are also emerging.

COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent, Sarnia-Lambton

Chatham-Kent Public Health is reporting 48 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday. In total, 122 files are active in the municipality.

In Sarnia-Lambton, 11 people recently tested positive for COVID-19. The number of active cases stands at 99.

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Richard Dement

The author Richard Dement