Successful reopening is in our hands: COVID-19

Effective Friday, June 12, 2020 (12:01 a.m.), more businesses and public spaces will be permitted to reopen in the Sudbury and Manitoulin districts. Public Health Sudbury & Districts is one of the areas permitted to proceed to Stage 2 of the Framework for Reopening our Province, announced by the Ontario Government yesterday.

“First and foremost, I would like to thank everyone in the Sudbury and Manitoulin districts for all their hard work and sacrifices—from business closures to people staying home and keeping their distance. Although necessary and effective, we also recognize these measures have taken their toll. The success of our past sacrifices now allow us to safely transition to this next stage,” said Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Medical Officer of Health with Public Health Sudbury & Districts. “As we move forward, it’s critically important that we recognize that the success of reopening is our individual and shared responsibility,” added Dr. Sutcliffe.

The changes announced yesterday include an increase in size of gatherings from five people or less to 10 or less, and the reopening of places of worship, both in effect for the entire province as of Friday, June 12 (12:01 a.m.). For areas proceeding to Stage 2 more retail spaces, personal service settings, restaurants, and outdoor and recreational activities, can open provided they implement additional safety protocols and respect applicable ongoing restrictions.

With the right to reopen businesses and public settings in our communities, comes the critical responsibility to do so in a COVID-safe way. Employers are expected to lead by example, emphasizing public health advice, and workplace health and safety guidance. The decisions business leaders take as they reopen will determine the course of the pandemic in our area and the public health actions necessary to control spread.

Public Health is sending information to workplaces and establishments to help set expectations, communicate requirements, and ensure appropriate measures are in place to protect the health of our communities. Any indication that expectations are not being met will result in prompt follow-up by Public Health and decisive action—through education, inspections, and enforcement—which could also include a return to stricter measures, where needed. We will work closely with workplaces to provide support and answer questions. A number of workplace resources are available at phsd.ca/COVID-19, including sector specific guidelines.

“The simple yet effective practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are more important now than ever. No one wants to reverse course. The more we are able to change our behaviour, the more successful we will be able to implement a successful and safe approach to reopening. We all need to be cautious, to not let our guard down and to prepare and plan for a second wave. We want to ensure that as more viruses become present in our community, including influenza, we are in a position to respond effectively,” said Dr. Sutcliffe.

Members of the public are reminded to continue to follow public health recommendations throughout Stage 2 and into the future. Continue to practise physical distancing, wear a mask when distancing is not possible, stay home if you are sick, wash your hands, and cover your cough or sneeze. If you have a COVID-19 symptom, get tested. People who are asymptomatic, who are concerned that they have been exposed to COVID-19 or those who are at risk of exposure to COVID-19 through their employment are also encouraged to contact an assessment centre and get tested.

Our agency will continue to closely monitor COVID-19 activity in the community. Everyone must do their part to keep one another safe. We encourage all residents to be kind, be patient, and be respectful to one another as we navigate this next phase together. For more information or if you have questions or concerns, please visit phsd.ca/COVID-19 or call Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705.522.9200 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200).