Warwick lifts COVID-19 testing requirements

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Warwick councillors or committee members attending in person meetings won’t have to have a COVID-19 rapid test anymore.
The township’s vaccine policy made it mandatory for all staff who were not vaccinated against COVID-19 to take weekly rapid tests to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. It was modelled after a policy in place at Lambton County.
Warwick councillors also adopted the policy for council and volunteers.
But this week, CAO Amanda Gubbels says the township suspended the policy for its employees, at the advice of Lambton County and Lambton Public Health.
While Gubbels can make that move for staff, the policy for councillors and volunteers had to be dealt with by council.
The issue has been a thorny one in Warwick after Mayor Jackie Rombouts said she didn’t believe people should be pressured to have a vaccine in order to continue working.
In the past few months, as restrictions around the pandemic eased, councillors agreed to continue meeting online until the new administrative building was ready for use, in part because at least one councillor, Todd White, was concerned about the spread of COVID-19 and how that would affect the residents of his long term care home.
Gubbels told councillors the testing policy would put council in an unusual spot since if the meetings were held at the arena, councillors would not need testing but at the new council building, under the policy that was in place, they would.
After hearing the township had eased its policy Monday, Councillor Wayne Morris and Jerry Westgate, along with the mayor, voted in favour of removing the mandate for testing for councillors.
Both White and Councillor Colin Mitchell voted against the move.
Warwick is not the only group easing restrictions, Lambton County councillors were set to meet in person for the first time in two years Wednesday also.