The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit area will be moved into the yellow “Protect” category of Ontario’s new COVID-19 response framework, the Premier has announced.
The move will take effect as of 12:01 a.m. Saturday, November 7, and is the result of a number of factors, including an increasing number of positive COVID-19 cases, clusters and outbreaks.
“Our community must remain vigilant when it comes to preventing the spread of COVID-19,” says Kristal Chopp, Mayor of Norfolk County and chair of the Haldimand-Norfolk Board of Health. “We have outbreaks at a hospital, long-term care facility, farm, school and among the members of a men’s hockey team, and it’s disappointing to note that a number of them are linked to Thanksgiving-related travel and gatherings. I know fatigue is starting to set in, but it’s imperative that we all continue to follow the advice of our public health professionals.”
The Protect category includes a range of required measures designed to protect public health and prevent further business closures, some of which are already in place in Haldimand and Norfolk.
These measures include, but are not limited to:
- Limited operating hours at bars, restaurants, meeting and event space
- Limiting the number of people who may be seated together to six at bars, restaurants, meeting and event space
- Requiring contact information at bars, restaurants, meeting and event space, and for all patrons of sports and recreational facilities
- Requiring attendance records for all team sports
- Requiring appointments for entry to sports and recreational facilities
- Increased spacing requirements at facilities where there are weights or weight machines and in exercise or fitness classes (minimum of three metres)
- Recreational programs limited to 10 people per room indoors and 25 outdoors
Gathering limits remain capped at 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
The Province is also advising that all non-essential travel from areas of high-transmission to areas of low transmission should be avoided.
Chopp says that she was disappointed with the lack of time given to residents to prepare for the new public health measures.
“While we recognize the complexity of dealing with the response to COVID-19, we have raised concerns with the Province about the lack of advance notice provided to the community before these new restrictions come into effect,” she says. “A few hours is not nearly enough time for businesses to prepare for these changes, so we’re hopeful that an improved process with more notice will soon be implemented as part of Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework.”
Details of the Province’s full framework, and the full list of measures required in the Protect category, can be found on the Province of Ontario’s website.