Confusion arises over public events with new COVID-19 restrictions in place
As new guidelines have been put in place across Ontario to stop the spread of COVID-19, some are left wondering why it’s okay for public events to go on.
Mamapalooza Handmade Market was set to take place on Mothers’ Day before the pandemic hit, but has finally taken plae a week out from Thanksgiving.
“I think people have been missing the in-person interaction,” said Charlene Hone, the event’s director. “I think, with Christmas coming up, people are looking for local gift ideas, so I think they’re just happy to be here.”
On the other side of the North Dumfries Community Complex in Ayr, kids are hitting the ice to play hockey for the first time this fall.
“The organization has done a really good job,” said Sarah Kingma, a parent of one of the young players. “They’ve evaluated what protocols were needed and put those systems in place and educated parents in what as expected.”
While the new activities have to meet specific public health guidelines to go ahead, the mayor of the township says there is confusion about these considering people are being told to limit those who they gather with.
North Dumfries Mayor Sue Foxton raised this question to the Region of Waterloo’s Medical Officer of Health on Friday.
“I can’t see my nephews, but I can gather at a market?” she said. “These contradictions are what we have to explain to the public.”
Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang explains that different rules apply to different situations.
“Businesses and schools are still opened with the understanding that there will be measures taken at these previous places for people to be able to maintain distancing and masking,” she said. “The sticking to your household members is in relation to doing it without any precautions.”
Hone says that some vendors at the handmade market did back out before the event took place.
“Some of them didn’t personally feel comfortable in the setting and that’s totally fine,” she said. “Other vendors got personally ill and felt it was socially responsible to stay home, and again, I totally support that.”
Philippe Lehner, the owner of Habitual Chocolate, says vendors had to follow strict rules to take part in the market.
“We always ask the customers just to look with their eyes, and if they want to purchase they can touch it, but please don’t put it back,” he said.
COVID-19 rules and regulations laid out by the event also specified that vendors would be physically distant, everyone needed to wear a mask, contact information was to be taken for contact tracing, and the number of shoppers would be limited, among other restrictions.
Parent Sarah Kingma says she’s taking a week by week approach when it comes to her kid playing hockey.
“We might have to adjust again, we know that’s a possibility” she said. “We just have to take what we can.”
Ayr Minor Hockey has also laid out guidelines to follow before kids returned to play.