“I’ve seen (on social media) photos of these huge lineups and packed parking lots,” Watson said Saturday while strolling down Wellington Street West, “and that’s always frustrated me.”
He said he asked Di Monte, who also oversees bylaw enforcement, to look into whether capacity limits were being observed at the larger stores. “We should be making sure these rules are enforced.”
Not only does crowding at the bigger stores create a health hazard, but it’s simply not fair to little shops that can only allow three or four customers at a time, the mayor said.
Many people on social media wondered about crowds in the ByWard Market, where strollers congregated in front of the Market building in apparent defiance of rules restricting outdoor crowds to five or fewer with proper social distancing. But a staffer at the market said the core of the building was closed and about half the tables had been removed from the outdoor plaza.
In the modified grey zone that blankets Ontario, supermarkets and other grocery stores, pharmacies and convenience stores are limited to 50-per-cent capacity. Other retailers, including big box stores, discount stores, hardware stores, garden centres and liquor and cannabis stores are restricted to 25-per-cent capacity, half of what’s allowed in the red zone.
The city’s effort to get vaccines to residents through selected pharmacies also got off to a confusing start. The province announced Thursday that 34 pharmacies had been chosen to distribute the AstraZeneca vaccine to those 55 and older, starting as early as Saturday.
However, calls to three big chains — Shoppers Drug Mart, Pharmasave and Rexall — were met with recordings directing callers to websites to register for eventual notifications to make appointments. There was no indication how long that might take.
The city reported 26 confirmed cases of the B.1.1.7 (UK) variant of concern and six of the B.1.351 (S. African) VOC. More than 560 cases are under analysis for VOC, and four deaths are attributed to the variants.
Ottawa’s incidence rate climbed to 104.3 per 100,000 from 97.2 reported Friday, and the positivity rate for testing was up to 6.5 per cent.
The R(t) number, which measures the spread of the virus from an infected person, was 1.16. A rate above 1.0 means the virus is spreading, below 1.0 is a signal the virus is subsiding.
Easter Sunday promises to be a quiet one in terms of religious observance. On one of the most important days in the Christian calendar, churches are limited to 15 per cent capacity, half the previous limit of 30 per cent, causing headaches for churches that had already taken reservations.
6,098: New confirmed cases (3,009 on Friday, 3,089 on Thursday)
2,042: Total B.1.1.7 (UK) variant cases confirmed
70: Total B.1.351 (South African) variant cases confirmed
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