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

·3 min read
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is revoking a letter of instruction that went into effect Sept. 7. (Sanjay Maru/CBC - image credit)
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is revoking a letter of instruction that went into effect Sept. 7. (Sanjay Maru/CBC - image credit)

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

Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, acting medical officer of health, said Monday morning that a letter of instruction mandating bars and nightclubs close at midnight and not allow dancing has been rescinded.

The letter also mandated that weddings and funerals have a maximum capacity of 100 people or fewer if social distancing of two metres cannot be maintained.

WECHU CEO Nicole Dupuis said the region has seen a reduction in cases associated with those settings as well as overall. As well, the province's vaccination certification program, which means only vaccinated people can enter bars and indoor restaurants, has now taken effect.

"We know that that significantly reduces the risk of COVID-19, the risk of spread and transmission of COVID-19," she said at a virtual media availability on Monday morning

The revocation is effective immediately, she said.

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

Some in the hospitality sector were calling for an end of the restrictions following the implementation of the provincial vaccine passport system.

Petition sought end to 'curfew'

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

It was launched 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 Windsor's downtown had been booming, but business slowed after establishments were told to close at midnight.

He warned of dire consequences if the health unit's mandates stayed in effect for an extended period of time.

"You will see layoffs, you will see defaulted payments and you will see businesses closing in the downtown core. I can guarantee that," he said.

Health unit reports 100 new cases

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

Fifteen people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19.

Overall, 278 cases are active in the region, along with 25 outbreaks.

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

Exposure times:

  • Sept. 25: 4 p.m.-12 a.m.

  • Sept. 26: 12 p.m.-8 p.m.

  • Sept. 27: 7 a.m.-3 p.m.

  • Sept. 28: 8 a.m.-5:45 p.m.

  • Sept. 29: 4 p.m.-1 a.m.

In total, fourteen outbreaks are occurring at workplaces:

  • 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.

  • One workplace is in a public administration setting.

Outbreaks are ongoing at six schools, including a newly declared outbreak at École élémentaire catholique Georges-P.-Vanier.

The remainder of the outbreaks are taking place at the following schools.

  • École élémentaire catholique Sainte-Ursule.

  • Sandwich West Public School.

  • St. Andre French Immersion Catholic School.

  • Ford City Public School.

  • Al-Hijra Academy.

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

Two long-term care homes, The Village at St. Clair and La Chaumiere Retirement Residence, are also in outbreak.

COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent, Sarnia-Lambton

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

In Sarnia-Lambton, 11 people have newly tested positive for COVID-19. The active case count stands at 99.

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