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Simcoe Muskoka included in Ontario’s Stage 3 reopening

July 16, 2020   ·   0 Comments

Dine-in restaurants, bars, movie theatres, and gyms are reopening in Simcoe Muskoka this Friday as most of Ontario moves into Stage 3 of reopening plans.

Other businesses to reopen include casinos, most personal care services, recreational facilities, live shows, team sports and guided tour services.

As more people are out mingling in society, interacting more, the importance of masks has been highlighted as the Simcoe Muskoka Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Charles Gardner issued an order making them mandatory on July 13.

“As we reduce restrictions we increase the chances of transmission, so although we have a very low number at this time, it’s very good to have this kind of protection in place as we open things up further,” Dr. Gardner said.

A large reason why the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) issued an order for mandatory masks or facial coverings was in anticipation of a reopened economy.

SMDHU will continue to work closely with businesses to provide them with direction, advice, and support as they gear back up to eliminate potential risk factors.

Meanwhile, the work that’s been done so far to limit the spread of COVID-19 was lauded by Dr. Gardner.

“I’d just like to reiterate just how important all of our work together has been in flattening the curve and bringing the pandemic to a very low point here in Simcoe Muskoka,” he said. “That’s the work of us all and it’s certainly the work of businesses as well, those that have had restrictions placed on themselves.”

Simcoe Muskoka has seen over 600 cases and roughly 560 recoveries, meaning 91 per cent of those infected are now recovered. Meanwhile, New Tecumseth has had 80 cases, 75 of which have recuperated, representing a 94 per cent rate of recovery.

No one in the region has died of COVID-19 since May 16.

From July 7 to July 13 only seven new cases were announced, which is the smallest number of cases Simcoe Muskoka has reported over a week period since the early days of the pandemic.

“We’ve most definitely come down quite dramatically,” Dr. Gardner noted.

He said the region is on an “excellent” trajectory at this time as the pandemic continues to shrink in size.

Heavily populated regions with higher rates of infections are being held back from Stage 3. These regions include Toronto, York, Peel, Hamilton, Durham, Haldimand-Norfolk, Halton, Lambton, Niagara, and Windsor-Essex.

Dr. Gardner said while things are going well locally, the pandemic is getting worse globally.

“Internationally we’re challenged, the numbers grow ever greater as we close in on 13 million cases,” he noted. “While we’ve done a good job here in Canada and Ontario, we need to be mindful that it’s still happening in a very big way around the world.”

By Sam Odrowski
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter


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