EOHU: New restrictions on store occupancy go into effect Saturday

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CORNWALL – A new order by the Eastern Ontario Health Unit region will see more enforcement for crowd control at retail stores beginning December 19th.

EOHU Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis issued the Section 22 order under Ontario's Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act late Thursday afternoon (December 17th).

The order, which effects large multi-department retail and grocery stores along with pharmacies, requires retailers to post occupancy limits for each department within a store and enforce those limits.

High-traffic departments like grocery and pharmacy within a big-box retail store are required to also have separate occupancy limits.

Stores are also required to control lineups inside and outside of stores to ensure physical distancing of two metres is maintained, as well as monitoring and maintain store department occupancy limits.

Roumeliotis said on December 15th that the move to enforce occupancy limits in large stores was coming sometime this week in response to reports of overcrowding at some retailers in the region and increasing case counts of COVID-19.

The number of active cases in the region is 302, a decrease from 329 active cases Wednesday. Eleven new positive test results were received in the last 24 hours including two new cases in South Dundas. There are five active cases in South Dundas, one which is a student attending Morrisburg Public School in Morrisburg.

The EOHU covers SDG Counties, Prescott-Russell, the City of Cornwall, and the northern portions of Akwesasne.

The new order will take effect at 12:01 a.m. December 19th.

Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Leader