Simcoe Muskoka’s top doc instructs businesses to step up COVID-19 prevention measures

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Ontario's Toronto and Peel Region entered a four-week lockdown Monday. – Nov 23, 2020

The top doctor in Simcoe County and Muskoka is instructing businesses and organizations to take additional precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Dr. Charles Gardner, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s medical officer of health, has outlined 14 measures that businesses and organizations must comply with, including enabling remote work when reasonably possible and screening all workers before they start their shift.

Read more: Ban lockdown, red zone residents from municipal rec centres in Simcoe Muskoka: region’s top doc

“We are facing a critical time in our fight against this disease,” Gardner said in a statement Thursday.

“Since September, we’ve seen a substantial increase in workplace transmission, often resulting in outbreaks, due in part to a failure of workplaces to meet the requirements of the provincial health and safety legislation and the public health preventive measures for the workplace.”

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Moving forward, local businesses and organizations are required to appoint a compliance officer who is responsible for implementing a COVID-19 safety plan and ensuring compliance with all health, safety, infection prevention and control measures.

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In his letter to businesses, Gardner said organizations must also ensure physical distancing where reasonably possible.

Read more: 29 new coronavirus cases confirmed in Simcoe Muskoka, local total reaches 1,938

“Barriers such as plexiglass should be used where reasonably possible, in particular in environments where physical distancing cannot take place,” Gardner wrote. “Ensure appropriate use of masks or face coverings.”

The measures outlined in Gardner’s letter will be effective Nov. 30.

So far, there have been 14 workplace outbreaks in the region, according to the health unit.

“These measures are intended to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 where the collective efforts of various sectors, including workplaces, are required to protect our communities,” Gardner said in his letter to businesses Thursday.

On Tuesday, Gardner wrote a letter to area municipalities recommending that they ban residents of Ontario’s lockdown and red zone regions from attending their recreation centres.

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