Medical Officer of Health Urges Businesses to Adhere to COVID-19 Rules

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The medical officer of health for Windsor-Essex is urging restaurants and personal care services, like salons, to follow COVID-19 rules.

Leamington restaurant the Family Kitchen defied provincial orders on Tuesday by opening for indoor dining and several other local businesses have been posting on social media they'll be staying open as well.

Dr. Wajid Ahmed says he understands the frustrations small businesses are facing, but the guidelines are the law and bylaw officers will be out to enforce them.

He says, to this point, enforcement has been working.

"I think it's unfortunate that we are in a situation where we have to enforce this rule of law. The responsibility lies with everyone including bylaw, the police and the health unit. So we have worked really well together and we have had great success," he says.

Ahmed says the goal is to keep everyone safe and healthy.

"We'll continue to work together to make sure that we're not putting anyone at a disadvantage at all and ensuring that whatever the restrictions are they'll continue to be followed and continued to be enforced," he says.

Ahmed says businesses can face some hefty fines.

"The business establishments are responsible for anyone who is coming through the door," he says. "As difficult as it is, that's the law and those are the things we have to follow and we have to ensure that it's there for everyone's safety and we are keeping everyone safe."

Hundreds of people gathered outside the Family Kitchen in Leamington in an effort to support owner Kirsty Leathem who told reporters her business supports her three children and 16 employees who also have families.

Under the province's "emergency brake" restrictions, restaurants can only offer takeout while personal services must remain closed.