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Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit to allow occupancy of secondary residences

May 15, 2020, Simcoe, ON – With the province moving into the first stage of its plan to re-open the economy and after reviewing key public health indicators, the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit is rescinding its public health order regarding secondary residences.

Effective immediately, the occupancy of secondary residences in Haldimand and Norfolk by those who live outside the jurisdiction is not restricted.

“Residents of Haldimand and Norfolk have made many sacrifices fighting the spread of COVID-19 through social distancing and other measures,” says Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, Medical Officer of Health. “Rescinding this public health order, however, should not be interpreted to mean that this battle is over. Social distancing measures remain in effect and are critical to completely breaking the coronavirus’ chain of transmission in our community. I remain concerned about outbreaks in settings where many people live together, such as long-term care facilities, retirement homes and residences for seasonal agricultural workers.”

Those who live outside of Haldimand and Norfolk are still being asked to postpone their visit to the area.

Dr. Nesathurai stated that “The risk of transmission is increased when people engage in repeated non-essential travel. The transmission of COVID-19 only requires one cough.  If travel is absolutely necessary, please bring your own groceries and fuel your vehicle up in your home community. And if you’re thinking about a day-trip, please consider putting it off for a little while longer.”

“Personal property rights and their critical importance to our society is at the core of why I ran for public office. This kind of public health order really should have come from the province, but the province’s mixed messages make managing this pandemic unnecessarily complicated for municipalities across Ontario,” says Kristal Chopp, Chair of the Haldimand-Norfolk Board of Health. “We continue to have serious concerns about the potential for a second wave of disease to hit our community, and the havoc that would wreak on our economy. That’s why myself and other cottage country mayors have been asking for the province’s support in deterring day-trippers and non-essential visitors – who we’d ordinarily welcome with open arms – until we’re safely through this pandemic.”

Over the last number of weeks, there have been an average of less than one positive case of COVID-19 in Haldimand and Norfolk per day – contrasted with a single day during the pandemic’s peak on which 21 cases were identified.

As of today, there are approximately 300 people currently in self-isolation across the two counties. More than 3,000 residents have self-isolated at some point during the pandemic.

Gatherings of more than five people who do not all live in the same household continue to be precluded by provincial order, and individuals must remain at least two metres from each other at all times.

Haldimand and Norfolk have stepped up bylaw patrol efforts, increasing staff numbers and weekend coverage. Officers will be in the community this weekend, ensuring proper social distancing protocols are being followed.