Middlesex-London Health Unit to drop local orders now covered by provincial framework

The Middlesex-London Health Unit will be dropping four Section 22 orders and one instruction previously issued on a local level, saying that they are “no longer necessary” now that the measures are “adequately addressed” through the province’s COVID-19 response framework.

However, the health unit’s Section 22 order for the sport, recreation and fitness sector will remain in place for at least another four weeks, “at which point this Order will be reviewed.”

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On Monday, the jurisdiction covered by the MLHU moved into the yellow/protect level in the province’s framework, which the health unit says provides “substantial safety measures in many sectors, including restaurants and food premises, and personal care service establishments.”

“In that context of the new framework, we’ve done a detailed review of all of the orders and the one instruction to businesses that were in place here in London and Middlesex under the authority of the medical officer of health and the health unit. And we’re able to, at this point, withdraw five of those six documents,” said medical officer of health Dr. Chris Mackie.

The announcement does not result in any changes to rules or regulations in place locally, it just means that some of the measures are now in place through the province only and not both the province and the health unit.

Section 22 orders issued over the summer involving the use of masks in vehicles for hire and transit and in personal service settings have been withdrawn. The instruction for all businesses in Middlesex County and London to wear masks in indoor public spaces has also been dropped.

Mackie says as of midnight Friday, the personal services setting order “around not providing services where an individual has to be unmasked to receive a service without additional protection” and the order around restaurants and bars will both be rescinded.

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“The third order that was issued four weeks ago — the order around sport and recreation, fitness facilities — that order is mostly covered under the new framework but there are some components that remain important, particularly around limits on team sports in terms of people on a roster and players on a field of play at the same time,” Mackie explained.

“Those have been in place prior to the framework across Ontario. When the framework came into place, they were only maintained for the higher levels of disease activity. So we’re keeping that Section 22 order in place for an additional four weeks and of course, we will review that order again at the four-week mark.”

The health unit also stressed in a statement that even though some orders are being rescinded, “operators of local businesses will still have to comply with the guidelines and restrictions outlined in Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework.”

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