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Hastings Prince Edward’s MOH asks locals to not travel this Family Day Weekend

Hastings and Prince Edward Counties MOH, released a statement to remind locals to not travel for Family Day. Global Kingston

As Family Day Weekend approaches amid the continuing COVID-19 crisis, Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Hastings and Prince Edward Counties’ medical officer of health, released a statement urging locals to stay within their region, no matter how tempting it is to travel outside of it.

“I am reaching out to our local residents and families with a sincere request for your assistance as we work together to end this pandemic. As you plan for a long weekend that celebrates the importance of family, please make every effort to avoid close contact with those outside your household. Please avoid hosting family or friends who reside in areas currently under the Stay at Home Order,” Oglaza, said in the statement.

Hastings Prince Edward is one of only three regions in Ontario to move out of lockdown and into green zone.

Read more: Coronavirus: 3 Ontario regions moving out of lockdown, into green level Wednesday

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He went on to say that if you do choose to host guests from outside of the region despite the risk, then quarantining after the visit for 14 days is the responsible choice to make.

The region’s top doctor also says that kindness at this time is key.

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“It is also important to remember that many individuals do need to visit our region for essential purposes. Please be kind to one another. We have faith in our community to make choices to keep one another safe,” Oglaza said.

Read more: Hastings Prince Edward MOH limits restaurants, services to regions out of emergency order

As of Wednesday, the health unit is prepared to roll out fines to deter businesses from serving travelers from outside of the region, in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The Section 22 Order is part of Ontario’s Health Protection and Promotion Act, and it legally requires a person to take or to refrain from taking any action in respect of a communicable disease. This regulation was put in place Nov. 10, 2020 to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Ontario.

Click to play video: 'Hastings Prince Edward and Kingston Frontenac Lennox and Addington health units prepare for return to green.' Hastings Prince Edward and Kingston Frontenac Lennox and Addington health units prepare for return to green.
Hastings Prince Edward and Kingston Frontenac Lennox and Addington health units prepare for return to green – Feb 9, 2021

Maureen Hyland, Hastings and Prince Edward’s Public Health communications specialist, says that the Order allows police or bylaw officers to lay a maximum fine of $5,000 for business owners or staff who accept customers for dining or personal services from outside the region.

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Hyland said that fines are not directed to the traveler themselves.

“The $5,000/day fine is when the health unit/police/bylaw officer summons an operator/staff person to appear in court. Upon conviction the courts can impose the maximum fines under the Health Protection Promotion Act,” Hyland says.

Hyland explained that a fine of $750 will be given for tickets served against business owners or staff after their first offence. 

Read more: Health units with low COVID-19 transmission urge caution as Ontario gradually reopens

There are currently 13 active cases of COVID-19 in the Hastings and Prince Edward Counties, four of them new.

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