STRATHROY - Launched Thursday, 8 April 2021, a new stay-at-home order will be in effect for four weeks. Residents are to go out only for essential purposes, accessing healthcare services, outdoor exercise & walking pets, going to work that cannot be done remotely, or attending school. The largest change since the last stay-at-home order is that big box stores are now required to rope off non-essential isles for in-person shopping, leaving only grocery and pharmacy open for browsing. Most non-essential retailers are restricted to curbside pickup between 7am and 8pm. Restaurants are closed to indoor and outdoor dining, but you can still walk in to order take-out. Religious, wedding, and funeral services are limited to 15% capacity indoors. Heading into gardening season, garden centres, plant nurseries, and greenhouses can remain open at 25% capacity. Golf courses have also been given the greenlight to open, with restrictions in place. Closed are personal care services (hair, tattoos, esthetics) and gyms; we may all be chunky and unkempt by the end, but we’re all in this together. Municipal By-law Enforcement officers will continue to work alongside police to enforce the stay-at-home order. Strathroy-Caradoc Police Chief Mark Campbell says they’ll take a complaint-driven approach, continuing their focus on education. Ontarians could face fines of up to $750 for violating the order; fines can go much higher for businesses/organizations. Most notably, under the order it is illegal to gather indoors with anyone you do not live with, with the exception being individuals who live alone who may join one other family. Travel between regions is discouraged unless necessary.
McKinley Leonard-Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Middlesex Banner