Capacity limits and stricter masking will kick into effect in the area on November 17.
Yet another public health unit in Ontario is reinstating some of its public health measures due to increasing COVID-19 cases in the area.
"In response to rapidly rising COVID-19 cases in Algoma, and especially in the municipality of Sault Ste. Marie, Algoma Public Health is taking further action to curb the spread of the virus, prevent severe illness and death in our communities, and protect health system capacity," officials of the public health unit said in a November 15 news release.
With the support of Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore, Algoma Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Loo is amending certain rules for COVID-19 — and some even come with hefty fines.
"To date, the surge has been primarily located in Sault Ste Marie with over 85% of [Algoma's] cases in the past 7 days occurring within the city," Loo wrote in instructions laid out by Algoma Public Health for business in the area. "Transmission is occurring throughout the community in workplaces, schools, sport and recreational settings, health care settings, and within vulnerable populations. Since no single setting or sector is driving the increase, broad measures are required to reduce the number of contacts people have with one another."
Anyone who either has COVID-19 or has a suspected COVID-19 infection is now legally ordered to isolate. This also applies to those who are identified as a close contact of an infected person. Anyone who doesn't follow this legal order could face a fine of up to $5,000 for each day or part of each day they continue to break the rules.
Starting on November 17, businesses and organizations in Sault Ste. Marie will have to put back capacity limits and social distancing requirements that were recently lifted by the Ontario government. This measure also applies to businesses that chose to opt-in to requiring proof of vaccination. They will also be responsible for implementing stricter masking requirements both indoors and outdoors.
Lastly, starting on November 19, anyone 12 years old and older will have to show proof of vaccination and government-issued ID at indoor venues when they are involved with an organized sport, whether that means you're part of the team or a spectator in the stands. This does not apply to organized school sports unless they're being played off of school grounds.
Earlier this month, Sudbury reintroduced "time-limited measures" like capacity limits and physical distancing due to rapidly rising COVID-19 cases in the region. Health Minister Christine Elliott said that local public health units might have to do this too as an increase in cases is expected as the weather gets colder.
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