Anticipating a three day shopping frenzy while Halton remains in the red zone for three more shopping days, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Hamidah Meghani, issued additional instructions(PDF file) to owners and operators of shopping malls and retail stores in an effort to reduce crowding and limit the spread of COVID-19. The instructions to businesses are in effect now. The focus over the coming days will be on education and progressive enforcement.
“With the holiday season in full swing and our retail spaces and malls remaining open, I am issuing additional instructions to retailers ahead of anticipated higher volumes of shoppers this week,” said Dr. Meghani. “Owners and operators must maintain capacity limits and physical distancing in retail spaces, common areas and indoor/outdoor line-ups to create safer spaces for both employees and patrons. Our region is surrounded by areas in lockdown which will increase the number of visitors from neighbouring regions to our stores. It is more important than ever that we follow public health measures and I am hopeful that residents outside our region stay home or shop for essentials in their own community.”
Instructions issued by Dr. Meghani are intended to supplement the Regulations under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020(external link) (ROA). Today’s instructions require that that all persons who own and/or operate one or more shopping malls and/or one or more retail stores in Halton region manage and actively monitor capacity to maintain adequate physical distancing. This is in addition to public health measures and regulations already in place
Dr. Meghani is also reminding all residents of their civic responsibilities to protect themselves and others.
“Patrons are also responsible for following all rules and protecting each other. In addition to wearing your mask, if you are shopping in person please keep a two metre (six foot) distance from others at all times,” Dr. Meghani added. “This means being patient and courteous when shopping, waiting your turn to select items at grocery stores, following the directional arrows marked in store aisles, staying two metres apart in all line-ups and accepting that your trip may take a little longer than usual. Please take your responsibilities seriously and please continue to be kind to one another.”
Halton Region also continues to urge all residents to find alternative ways to shop local and stay safe – shop online or by phone, get curbside pick-up or delivery.