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Come February, unvaccinated visitors can enter Au Chateau

Revised policy opens door to all, but Mayor Rochon cautioned the decision was ‘very reactionary’
Au Chateau long term care home in Sturgeon Falls / Photo by David Briggs

Au Chateau, a long-term care home in Sturgeon Falls, has decided to revise its visitation policy to allow those without a vaccination against Covid-19 to enter the premises. The decision was made this past Friday by Au Chateau’s board, and the revised policy takes effect February 1st.

There was public pressure to alter the visitation policy, with demonstrators gathering outside Au Chateau on January 17th and January 24th. The first demonstration was designed to put pressure on the board to alter the vaccine policy during its January 18th meeting.

However, at that meeting the policy remained the same, and demonstrators returned on the 24th to urge the board to host an emergency meeting to reconsider revising the policy, which the board did on January 27th.

See: Demonstrators want Au Chateau to open doors to all

Board chair Ronald Demers noted that the last board of management unanimously passed the vaccination policy, which “proved to be an effective tool” to help “manage and curb the spread of the covid virus and all its variants.”

He mentioned that with a new board come “new members, new ideas, new orientation,” noting that during the board’s January 18th meeting, “all board members expressed a willingness to revisit said policy at a future date.”

The revised policy allows unvaccinated guests “to enter the home, as long as they meet the same criteria of testing and screening of any other person coming into the home,” explained Cindy Brouillette, the home’s director care and acting administrator while Jacques Dupuis is on leave.

West Nipissing’s mayor, Kathleen Thorne Rochon, cautioned the board against moving too quickly to revise the policy. Altering the policy “should be done gradually under the advice of our administrator and our staff” and in conjunction with “caregivers of all of our residents,” she said.

See: West Nipissing to abolish municipal vaccine policy

She noted she was “not a big fan of revising policy just due to political pressure,” adding the approach taken in regard to this policy “Is very reactionary.” Ideally, any policy changes would occur “in a way that was gradual and measured and took into account the wishes of all our residents.”

“I think we’ve done what we’ve had to do under the circumstances,”  Demers said.

David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

About the Author: David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering civic and diversity issues for BayToday. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada
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