Simcoe Muskoka logs 17 new cases on eve of vaccine certificate taking effect
On the eve of Ontario's vaccination certificate coming into effect, the Simcoe Muskoka health unit reports 17 new COVID-19 cases and no deaths related to the virus.
A dozen residents who tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours are unvaccinated. Four are fully and one partially.
The health unit reports 186 active infections across the region, including nine hospitalizations.
Most of the new cases Tuesday are in Barrie (8). The remaining are listed in Essa (2), and single cases in Bradford, Huntsville, Innisfil, Orillia, Springwater, Collingwood and New Tecumseth.
Five are the result of close contact with a positive case, three are community-acquired, two are travel-related, and one is outbreak-related. The remaining cases are under investigation.
VACCINE CERTIFICATE TAKES EFFECT WEDNESDAY
Over the past 18 months, businesses have had to pivot from lockdown measures to various safety protocols, and most recently, a new proof of vaccine policy requiring workers to turn away customers without evidence they are immunized against COVID-19.
In an interview with CTV News last week, Ryan Mallough, director of provincial affairs for Ontario with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, said that putting the onus on employees was a lot to ask.
"Recovery is still very much in its infancy, and this is another burden both administrative and financial thrust upon small businesses."
Additionally, the question remains how will it be enforced?
In a statement to CTV News, Barrie police said unless there is a public safety concern, criminal activity or legislative concerns, like trespassing, don't call them.
Rather, the police service said to direct issues of compliance to the health unit.
Meanwhile, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit said education is key when the province's vaccine certificate comes into effect.
A spokesperson for the health unit said it would be taking a "graduated approach with emphasis on education" to deal with compliance issues once specific indoor settings are required to have proof of vaccination to allow patrons to enter.
Starting Wednesday, residents will have to show proof of being fully vaccinated for at least 14 days, or a medical exemption, along with a piece of ID to access a long list of non-essential businesses, including gyms, movie theatres and restaurants.
Ontario's health minister said she doesn't expect major pushback from unvaccinated residents.
Individuals caught not complying with the vaccine policy could face fines starting at $750. The fines for businesses start at $1,000.