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Public Health Answers Questions from members

In a recent ZOOM call with Chamber members, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) officials provided and clairifed details about the stay-at-home order issued by the Province, and answered questions from our members. 

Time was limited, and not all questions were answered live.   HPEPH officials did provide written answers to those questions.  
 

Contact Tracing, how are we doing in our region overall?    Very well - we are following up on cases within 24 hours and identifying and isolating cases within 24 hours. Furthermore, test results are coming back within 24 hours.

When an active case is removed from the dashboard / deemed resolved, is it because the person has now tested negative, or because they passed the 14 day period?  It means they have passed beyond the 10 days (for some cases with underlying health conditions, this may be extended to 20 days) and are no longer contagious. Negative test results are not required.

Is there any work in our area for antigen testing?  LTCH throughout the province are in the process of rolling out antigen testing for staff surveillance screening within their facilities.

Is there an opportunity to be more flexible with access to LTC and RH, to three Essential Caregivers to ensure capacity to service clients.  We continue to follow provincial guidelines around visiting restrictions of LTC and RH. Under the current lock-down order, a maximum of 2 caregivers may be designated per resident at this time. Essential caregivers continue to be permitted to enter these facilities to ensure continuity of care of residents, but in order to protect our most vulnerable resident population, it remains that they follow the current testing and screening guidelines that are in place.

Want to acknowledge the Great Job HPE, QHC, Paramedics, etc., who are performing testing at the former Quinte Secondary School!  Thank for the excellence in service!  - and I will second this remark!

Entertainment:  

Under the new restrictions, can churches include singers or musicians as part of their livestreamed services with a limit of 10 participants including technicians? Under the new restrictions, can a cultural organization rent the same church space to record music or spoken word presentation for future distribution through social media?   This seems to fall under the section regarding the rental of spaces, and the answer is no as it does not meet one of the permitted uses.

Can rental spaces be used for In Person Training for Health Care workers and -- paramedics?   Under the same section, you can rent space for the purpose of social services, mental health & addictions – the answer identified paramedics/health care as falling under “social services” so rental to someone offering training would be allowed.  

If film and television productions are able to resume filming under the current lockdown measures in order to create digital content for distribution through the media, can theatre companies and organizations like the Empire Theatre do the same to create digital content for distribution or livestreaming under the current regulations?  If the performance is filmed for the purpose of distribution and all filming and set protocol are in compliance, would there be an issue with the Empire using their stage as a set?   This is not permitted as this section of the regulation was revoked.

Belleville Theatre Guild has been performing dramatic Zoom readings of new local plays to an online audience. Does that imply compliance with the regulations for future productions? They then publish the recordings on their website.  If so can we meet in the pinnacle theatre - BTG home theatre, to produce a play?   See above.

Who exactly can enforce infractions aside from OPP and Bylaw?   Any Provincial Offences Officers which includes OPP, Bylaw Officers, Public Health Inspectors , Ministry of Labour Inspectors, etc.

What is the exact date we will be able to open this time? The current lockdown is in place until February 11th.  We have not yet been updated as to any applicable accompanying legislative changes. 

Once re-opened (whenever that may be), will SIGNAGE be sufficient to screen customers entering the premises versus SPEAKING to each customer every time? Yes.

 According to the health unit that curbside is only available if people have phoned their order ahead. Can they call us from the sidewalk? What is the reasoning behind this? The rationale of pre-ordering is to prevent the possibility of people gathering while they wait for orders given at the door (called from the sidewalk) to be filled.   

I cannot seem to find clear information on regulations for providing transportation for clients? IE sanitizing / masks for both riders / space between driver and client?  Car-pooling should not be occurring but if shared vehicle use is needed occupants should all be wearing masks and windows cracked open.  Occupants should sit as far apart as possible.

 Due to the stay at home order and restrictions on type of “construction” allowed at this time, are “renovations” under the same restrictions?  Permitted if renovations to residential properties started before January 12, 2021.   https://www.ontario.ca/page/enhancing-public-health-and-workplace-safety-measures-provincewide-shutdown#construction

Specifically, can business owners work with or without an employee in my space to renovate while we remain closed?  I suppose the real question here is whether they are hiring contractors to come in and do the work or they are doing it themselves.  And if the scope of the renovation requires a permit (that wasn’t obtained prior to January 12 – then the answer is no).  If they are taking advantage of the time to reorganize, this should be within the scope of work that can be done…  example, a store revamps their warehousing and display areas during a time when they are closed to the public. 

If a retail store decides to open and a customer goes into the store is the customer fined?  Both could be fined under the “illegal gathering” clause.  The individual fine starts at $750 up to $100,000 and the business owner would be considered the host where fines start at $10,000 to $100,000.  If the business is a corporation, the director could face the fine up to $500,000 and the corporation could be fined up to $10,000,000. 

Vaccines  Please refer to our website for up to date information on vaccination.  If you still have questions complete on line form.  https://hpepublichealth.ca/covid-19-vaccines/

Will there be a proof of "vaccination" card provided to people who get the vaccine?  Covax is the current system being used to “document” vaccinations – we are not sure if this will talk to iPHIS and it isn’t clear if people will carry a card or have some other way to confirm they’ve received the vaccine.

If one person in the business has been vaccinated, can they refuse to follow company policies on masking and social distancing?  Can we make them still do this, and should we?  It is still not clear whether a vaccine truly protects someone from getting or carrying the disease.  It has been found effective in reducing the symptoms so if you do get it, you may not even know.  All sanitizing, distancing and masking protocol should be maintained as long as ordered to do so.

Masks

Are masked required for staff who are working, maintaining 6ft in areas that isn’t accessible to customers/clients?  People who are working “back of house” and able to maintain appropriate distancing are not required to wear a mask.  This has not changed.  What has changed is the requirement for all people to wear a mask in a public place (in some instances, only employees were required to do so)  

Many people say they are 'exempted' but can staff ask for proof of exemption?  And who provides that proof of exempted.  There is no proof required.  It is considered a violation of human rights to ask for proof.  If an inspector or customer asks about the absence of a mask, a business owner can say “they are exempt” and that will be sufficient. 

In situations where a business doesn’t want to serve an unmasked customer, it is recommended that they offer an alternative service option (curbside delivery) and that they are consistent with this approach (if one person isn’t allowed without a mask, no one is allowed without a mask).

There are no legal ramifications to denying service though you recommend doing so in the nicest way possible. 

MISSED IT?  Here is the recording from the Chamber Chat LIVE session.  

 

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