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Local Restaurants and bars reopening…with restrictions

In an effort to avoid some of the scenes that have unfolded in the US and even in the GTA, where large crowds gathered without social distancing,  Hamilton Public Health Services issued a letter to owners and operators of bars and restaurants in the city to remind them of their responsibilities and requirements with respect to public health.

Restaurant and bar owners and operators have an obligation to ensure they are taking the proper measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This is particularly important given the cases and clusters resulting from bars and restaurants that have been reported in Canada and worldwide.

The requirements include modifications of their premises and implementing practices to reduce the spread of COVID-19 such as:

physical distancing between tables,

face coverings being worn by staff,

face coverings being worn by customers except when eating or drinking,

customers remaining seated except when going to the washroom or paying the bill, and

keeping a log of customers attending at the premise.

Over the coming days and weeks, City Public Health and Municipal Law Enforcement staff will be conducting inspections, as well as responding to complaints, at bars and restaurants permitted to open as per Stage 3 of Ontario’s reopening plan. The goal of these inspections will be to educate owners and operators of these premises to ensure they are aware of the Provincial requirements that apply to all bars and restaurants as well as the usual responsibilities related to Food Safety and other health matters under the Health Protection and Promotion Act (“the HPPA”) and related regulations.

“The efforts that have made by both businesses and residents in Hamilton to protect the health and safety of workers and customers have been remarkable. As we move through Stage 3, the risk of a rapid rise in COVID-19 infections and outbreaks remains ever-present. Everyone must continue the hard work done in reducing transmission of COVID-19 in order to ensure our economy can continue to reopen and people can enjoy our restaurants and bars safely.” said Dr.  Elizabeth Richardson, the Medical Officer of Health. The full restaurant and bar guideline document is here.                

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