An Ontario region is installing new COVID-19 restrictions to prevent visitors from booking accommodations over the Easter weekend.
According to Hastings Prince Edward Public Health, the order, which took effect at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, prevents non-residents from reserving hotels and eating at restaurants.
However, visitors who are travelling to the Hastings Prince Edward health region for essential reasons, such as medical appointments, will be exempt.
Anyone who is caught attempting to use these facilities who isn't a resident of the region could be fined $5,000.
What other rules are in place under this new order?
Under the Class Order, not only will non-residents be unable to make reservations and hotels at restaurants, but they also can't gain access to personal services.
On top of this, both indoor and outdoor gatherings with more than five people will also be banned in the region.
Restaurants must also be closed between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. and seat no more than five people per table.
Any short-term rentals, such as cottages, are forced to close and any bookings made before March 30 have been cancelled.
Why were these changes made?
Dr. Piotr Oglaza, medical officer of health and CEO at Hastings Prince Edward Public Health, states that the new order has been put in place due to the rising COVID-19 numbers.
Shutting down facilities to visitors is set to attempt to curb the spread in the region.
“Given the increasing concerns of COVID-19 variants, and the risks of potential spread of COVID-19 related to Easter celebrations, these measures are necessary to prevent illness and the spread of COVID-19 in our community,” Oglaza stated.