Barbers, gyms, daycare centres and churches among establishments now officially ordered closed by Eastern Ontario Medical Officer of Health

EASTERN ONTARIO — Dispelling “some public confusion” after last week’s provincial decree, Eastern Ontario’s medical officer of health has flexed his legal authority to absolutely prevent residents from visiting gyms and several other types of establishments, ordering their immediate closure.

Effective today, Dr. Paul Roumeliotis has shut down:

• All daycares and other childcare centres and services (those not previously indicated in the provincial closure order);
• All public gyms, fitness and sport centres and services (to clarify that gyms are considered recreational centres, which were previously ordered closed);
• All churches, mosques, synagogues and other places of worship (previously recommended by the province, but now ordered to close in the EOHU jurisdiction);
• And all personal service settings, like hairdressers, barbers, tattoo and body-piercing shops (because they can’t operate and maintain a distance of two metres between individuals).

The latter group also includes nail services, electrolysis and “other aesthetic services.”

The EOHU says exemptions will be made for select daycare centres offering childcare for frontline essential workers.

Dr. Roumeliotis is empowered under section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA) to compel the closures. Businesses failing to comply are subject to being charged and, if convicted, fined.

“I acknowledge that these closures are difficult, and I have not taken this decision lightly,” says the doctor. “However, we must take all measures necessary as a society to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect our community, given the increase in cases locally and worldwide.”

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