Lanark health unit orders new restrictions in Carleton Place, Mississippi Mills, Beckwith following COVID-19 outbreak

OTTAWA — The medical officer of health for the Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit (LGLDHU) is imposing new restrictions on businesses in parts of the region following a community outbreak of COVID-19.

Sports facilities in three municipalities are closed and restaurants must adhere to new seating guidelines, despite the region staying in the green zone.

Earlier this week, the health unit said it had detected “a significant increase with 20 people infected with COVID-19 in the past four days” in areas that included Pakenham, Almonte and Carleton Place.

The infections started with exposure to the COVID-19 virus at a social gathering, a press release said. One infected person at the private gathering spread to a household and then businesses, recreational sports teams, families and child care.

In a press release Saturday morning the LGLDHU said it had imposed a class order under section 22 of the Ontario Health Protection and Promotion Act, effective Friday, March 5 until further notice in Mississippi Mills, Carleton Place and Beckwith.

“The purpose of this Class Order is to help contain the community outbreak of COVID-19 that is occurring in the eastern portion of Lanark County,” Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paula Stewart said in the release. “Everything that each and every one of us does makes a difference in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in households and the community. This Class Order will reduce opportunities for people to gather and have close unprotected contact with others outside their household in public and private facilities.”

The order is issued to owners and operators of public and private facilities that operate in Mississippi Mills, Carleton Place and Beckwith where the public may gather.

In accordance with this order:

  • Sports facilities must close and cease operations, including curling rinks, privately owned arenas, and indoor sports venues that offer facilities for sports such as soccer, lacrosse, tennis, squash, pickle ball, etc.
  • Facilities operated by clubs and organizations must cease rentals for private social gatherings.
  • Restaurants and bars may continue to operate under the Reopening Ontario Act, but may only seat patrons if they are members of the same household and must log customer contact information.
  • Places of worship may operate in accordance with the requirements of the Reopening Ontario Act with additional restrictions related to social events in their meeting spaces.
  • Banquet halls and wedding venues may operate in accordance with the requirements of the Reopening Ontario Act, and only events that are hosted, organized, and managed by the venue are permitted, with additional restrictions. 

Failure to comply with the class order could lead to fines of up to $5000 for every day or part of each day on which the offence occurs or continues, the health unit said.

The LGLDHU is in the Green-Prevent level under Ontario’s COVID-19 framework, which would normally allow the opening of sports facilities and which imposes a two-metre distance between tables in bars and restaurants but does not have limits on who may be seated at each table.

The provincial government reported 19 new cases of COVID-19 in the LGLDHU on Saturday.

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