County falls under Section 22 declaration ahead of long weekend

Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health at Hastings Prince Edward Public Health. (HPEPH photo)

An increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Prince Edward and Hastings Counties has prompted the leading public health official to institute a Section 22 order as of midnight on Monday.

In an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health and CEO at Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) issued a Class Order pursuant to Section 22 of the Ontario Health Protection and Promotion Act, 1990 to proactively protect the Quinte community and prevent an impact on emergency medical services and hospitals.

“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,” said Dr. Oglaza. “I want to thank the community for their continued vigilance and support in keeping our community safe and want to emphasize the importance of continuing to adhere to public health measures.”

The Class Order which came into effect at 12:01 a.m. March 30, 2021, replaces the previous Class Order issued on February 9, 2021, is issued to all persons in or present in Hastings and Prince Edward.

In accordance with the order:

•Bookings/reservations for hotel/motel accommodation, personal service settings, and dine-in food services can only be accepted for individuals residing in HPEC (exceptions will include booking accommodation for individuals who are travelling to our region for essential reasons ie. health care staff, medical appointments, and emergencies and are in need of housing).

•All short-term accommodations (e.g. Airbnb’s, B&B’s, cottages) are immediately closed, including all bookings made prior to March 30, 2021 (Exception: booking of accommodation is permitted for individuals who are travelling to or within our region for essential reasons, i.e. health care staff, medical appointments, and emergencies, and are in need of housing).

Those witnessing accommodation violations can contact HPEPH at 613-966-5500 or the County of Prince Edward Bylaw department at 613-476-2148 ext. 1023.

The order will also dash any Easter weekend gathering plans as it states “No person shall host or attend any indoor or outdoor social gatherings with more than five (5) persons that is held at a private dwelling, condominium, apartment building and or student residence.”

As well:

  • All food and drink establishments must close to the public between 12 a.m. and 5 a.m., with limited exceptions (e.g. to pick up or pay for a takeout order).
  • All food and drink establishments must seat no more than 5 people together at a table.
  • All food services and personal service settings must record contact information for all patrons (exception: need not collect contact information for pick-up/carry-out orders).
  • All retail businesses must have a safety plan that is in writing, available on request, and posted in a conspicuous place.
  • All retail businesses and food and drink establishments must ensure music played is no louder than the volume of a normal conversation.
  • The person responsible for a business or place that is open must not permit patrons to line up inside, or to line up or congregate outside unless maintaining a physical distance of at least two metres from other groups of persons and wearing an appropriate mask/face covering.
  • All staff at retail businesses and food and drink establishments must wear appropriate personal protective equipment if providing services within 2 metres of another person who is not wearing a mask or face covering and are not separated by an impermeable barrier (e.g., plexiglass).  Protection of the eyes, nose, and mouth is required (i.e., goggles or face shields and surgical or procedural masks). This includes personal service settings and eating establishments where patrons temporarily remove their mask in order to receive services.

Failure to comply with this Class Order can result in fines of up to $5000 for individuals, and $25,000 for corporations for every day or part of a day on which the offence occurs or continues.

HPEPH will continue to monitor provincial rates of COVID-19 and restrictions in other regions and will review and update this Class 22 Order as needed to protect local residents.

HPEPH will continue to update to include information for local businesses and residents. Local business owners/operators who are unable to find answers to their questions on our web page are invited to complete our online inquiry form.