Kingsville will be joining the rest of Ontario as Windsor-Essex County enters Stage 3 of reopening on Wednesday, August 12 at 12:01 a.m. The region has been seeing fewer new cases of COVID-19 recently, and our hospitals have gained greater capacity. These were key developments necessary for the government’s plan to move ahead.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford shared the good news in a press statement. “Thanks to the collective efforts of our frontline health care workers, public health experts, and the people of Windsor-Essex, more businesses in the region can hang up their ‘Open for Business’ sign and more people can go back to work as of this Wednesday.”
However Ford also emphasized the need for caution as the region enters a new phase, with new freedoms but also new regulations and risks.
“As all of Ontario now enters into Stage 3, I ask everyone to remain on their guard and keep following the public health measures to protect the tremendous progress we’ve made and keep this deadly virus at bay,” he said.
The Kingsville Times approached Kingsville Mayor Nelson Santos for his response to the news about Stage 3.
“Today’s announcement is a reflection of the overall community response in adhering to the protocols and guidelines more specifically over the past 10 days,” he said. “With a significant decrease in cases across our region and locally here, it represents the opportunity many of our local businesses and their employees have been hanging on for and that is to reopen and expand their service levels.”
Stage 3 will still require that all health and safety measures be observed. This includes physical distancing, masks and PPE, as well as enhanced cleaning protocols and Plexiglas barriers where appropriate.
Here are some of the changes coming our way with Stage 3:
Indoor gatherings can include up to 50 people now. Outdoor gatherings can allow up to 100 people. People who are not of the same household or bubble must maintain physical distancing in those settings however.
Indoor restaurant dining is now an option. It will necessitate that masks be worn except while actually eating a meal or drinking. Restaurant staff will always wear masks while on duty. If you eat on a patio, a mask is not required. Buffets are not yet allowed.
People will be able to attend movie theaters, playgrounds and live performing arts shows.
Gyms and sport facilities will be allowed to operate, with safety measures in place. Physical distancing is not required for those playing a team sport or for personal training.
Casinos and charitable gaming establishments can open but table games are not yet permitted.
Night clubs may only serve food and drinks. Singing and dancing will be allowed only under specific circumstances, within particular limitations.
There will be plenty of strategies to work out and get used to. We will all experience major adjustments, and we must continue to learn new ways.
As Mayor Santos reminds us, “Moving to Stage 3 doesn’t mean that the virus is gone. It is still in our community and it takes only a few people that could spread it to many people if the public health measures are followed.”
Stepping up for this next phase will mean going against a lifetime of habits and expectations to combat COVID-19 and that’s a substantial challenge. But we can do this. We can master Stage 3 in Kingsville.
Photo by Chris Anson