Arenas removed from Section 22 orders being imposed by Eastern Ontario medical officer

EASTERN ONTARIO —  Martial arts dojos have been added and arenas removed from an impending new Eastern Ontario Health Unit order placing restrictions on indoor fitness facilities along with the owners and operators of banquet halls, and food and drink establishments.

Today’s clarification from the EOHU comes after last night’s release of the section 22 order made by Eastern Ontario Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.

Dr. Roumeliotis had assured the public this week that his impending 28-day order — which takes effect 11:59 p.m. tomorrow — would have no impact on sports teams. The text of yesterday’s release had included arenas among fitness facilities set to be limited to a reduced number of just 10 people inside.

The limit of 10 “would have affected all of the hockey associations,” said Cheryl Cooper, vice president of house hockey league operations in Metcalfe, pointing out that Nepean hockey operations paused altogether when applied within the City of Ottawa as part of harsher modified Stage 2 rules applied in the Nation’s Capital.

Cooper said she had heard Roumeliotis was going to amend his new order and was relieved to hear the doctor’s assurances during his regular media briefing yesterday.

The new Order brings in new measures so that owners and operators of these types of establishments can continue to operate, all while ensuring the health and safety of staff and clients, says the EOHU.

“The last thing I want is for businesses in our community to have to shut their doors again as they did in the spring,” says Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health at the EOHU. “By putting these new measures in place, I’m hoping we can stop the rising number of infections and prevent another shutdown that would hurt our local economy.”

Measures for owners/operators of banquet halls and food and drink establishments

The new Order brings in several measures to reduce the risk of individuals infected with COVID-19 spreading the virus to others, including limiting the number of people who can be seated at each table to six. In addition, the total number of patrons in the indoor and outdoor sections of a food and drink establishment must not exceed 100.

Patrons waiting in line to enter the premises must wear a mask or maintain a distance of two metres from other people outside their household. Establishments must also conduct a COVID screen on every patron and record their name and contact information, whether they’re seated in an indoor or outdoor dining area.

Measures for owners/operators of indoor facilities used for fitness activities

The new Order applies to owners and operators of indoor facilities used for fitness activities, including gymnasiums, health clubs, community centres, multi-purpose facilities, exercise studios, yoga studios, dance studios, martial arts dojos, and other indoor fitness facilities.

The Order stipulates that the total number of members of the public permitted to be in each indoor fitness, exercise or dance class at the facility cannot exceed 10 people, excluding instructors/trainers/coaches, and each class must take place in a separate room. The total number of members of the public permitted to be indoors at the facility in areas containing weights or exercise machines at any one time cannot exceed 50 people.

Any person who enters or uses an indoor facility must maintain a distance of two metres from other people and wear a mask, unless actively exercising. As is the case with food and drink establishments, clients waiting in line to enter the premises must wear a mask or maintain a distance of two metres from people outside their household. Operators must also conduct a COVID screen on every patron and record their name and contact information. The Order also stipulates that steam rooms, saunas, whirlpools, or bathhouses must be closed.

Measures for owners/operators of personal care services

The new Order also brings in measures for owners and operators of businesses that provide personal care services, including hair salons and barber shops, manicure and pedicure salons, aesthetician or piercing services, tanning salons, spas and tattoo studios.

Just as for the other types of establishments, clients waiting in line to enter the premises must wear a mask or maintain a distance of two metres from people outside their household. Operators must also conduct a COVID screen on every client and record their name and contact information.

The measures mentioned above are highlights of the requirements in the latest Order. For the complete list of measures that owners and operators of banquet halls, food and drink establishments, sports and recreational facilities, and personal care services must put in place, please consult the official document on the EOHU’s website.

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