The Niagara Region will be moving into the Orange-Restrict level as Ontario tightens restrictions in the COVID-19 Response Framework to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
“We are starring down the barrel of another lockdown,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford at today’s press conference at Queen’s Park. “Our number one priority right now is getting the numbers down and keeping people safe… We must do whatever it takes to stop our hospitals from being overwhelmed and protect our most vulnerable.”
In this tier, Niagara will see restrictions such as:
- Event and social gatherings limited to 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors
- 50-person seating capacity at food and drink establishments
- 50-person capacity in sports and recreation facilities
- 50-person capacity per facility and meeting and event spaces
- Fitting rooms must be limited to non-adjacent stalls at retail establishments
- Oxygen bars, steam rooms, saunas, whirlpools, bathhouses, other adult venues, hot tubs, floating pools and sensory deprivation pods closed (some exceptions)
More info on these restrictions can be found here.
This news comes after new COVID-19 modelling released yesterday showed that at the current rate of growth, the province could see up to 6,500 new cases per day by mid-December and could exceed the intensive care threshold of 150 beds within the next two weeks.
In response to this, the government announced that it will be lowering the thresholds for each level in the response framework to further minimize community spread while protecting the health and safety of Ontarians, keeping schools open, and avoiding further lockdowns.
“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, and our government’s response must evolve with it. These updates to the COVID-19 Framework will ensure that the necessary targeted measures are in place in hotspots to help stop the spread of the virus and keep our schools and businesses open,” said Ontario Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott.
Effective Monday, Nov. 16 at 12:01 a.m., The Niagara Region and other public health units across Ontario will be moved into the following levels in the framework:
- Hamilton Public Health Services
- Halton Region Public Health
- Toronto Public Health
- York Region Public Health
- Brant County Health Unit
- Durham Region Health Department
- Eastern Ontario Health Unit
- Niagara Region Public Health
- Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health
- Region of Waterloo Public Health
- Huron Perth Public Health
- Middlesex-London Health Unit
- Public Health Sudbury & Districts
- Southwestern Public Health
- Huron Perth Public Health
- Windsor-Essex County Health Unit
Visitor restrictions for long-term care homes will also come into effect for public health regions in the Orange-Restrict and Red-Control levels on Nov. 16 at 12:01 a.m.
The COVID-19 Response Framework imposes lockdowns and closures by classifying each of the province’s 34 public health units using one of five levels based on their current COVID-19 trends. These levels include Green-Prevent, Yellow-Protect, Orange-Restrict, Red-Control, and Lockdown.
The system allows for Ontario regions to gradually increase or decrease restrictions as COVID-19 cases rise and fall.
Assignments to the current levels will last for a minimum of 28 days or two-incubation periods. The status of the public health regions will be assessed weekly and the province can choose to move regions to a more restricted level if trends worsen.
To further reduce the spread of COVID-19, Ontarians are recommended to limit social gatherings to people within your households, practice physical distancing, wear face coverings, wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, and stay home if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, even if they are mild.