Brant County moves into red zone, Guelph drops to orange
KITCHENER -- Ontario changed its COVID-19 restrictions for nine regions Friday, among them Brant County and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph.
It also announced increased indoor and outdoor dining capacity for restaurants and bars.
Brant County will move up from orange level to red, while Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph will drop from red to orange.
"Based on two weeks worth of data we met the criteria to move to orange," said Dr. Nicola Mercer, the Medical Officer of Health for WDG.
No change has been announced for the Region of Waterloo, which remains in the red.
In response to the province's decision, the City of Guelph has updated its list of what is and isn't allowed. Visitors to local museums will be limited to 30 people at a time and spots will have to be pre-booked. Libraries will reopen during regular business hours, and indoor programs will resume at recreational facilities starting April 6.
Dr. Mercer says that, while restaurant limitations have also loosened, it's still not a good idea to go out with people outside of your household.
"One more holiday, please do the right thing," said Dr. Mercer. "Don't gather for Easter."
Under orange restrictions, private gatherings are permitted in Guelph for 10 people indoors or 25 outdoors.
"It's definitely really exciting," one Guelph resident tells CTV News. "I'm excited to have people in restaurants and outside more, as long as people follow the rules we're good to go."
Dr. Mercer adds that this move up doesn't mean their region is out of the woods yet.
"It's very possible that we could go back into the red. I don't want to go there," she said. "I think a lot of it's going to do with how well we do with our behaviours, and the number one behaviour is whether people socialize."
Here’s the full list put out Friday by the province:
RED – CONTROL
- Brant County Health Unit
- Chatham-Kent Health Unit
- Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District
- Ottawa Public Health
ORANGE – RESTRICT
- Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health
YELLOW – PROTECT
- Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health
- North Bay Parry Sound District
- Porcupine Health Unit
- Timiskaming Health Unit
The province also announced it is increasing dining capacity limits for restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments in the red and orange zones.
Staring Saturday, red zone businesses are permitted up to 50 patrons for indoor dining and up to 100 patrons for businesses in the orange zone.
While indoor dining is not allowed for areas in the grey zone, the province says outdoor dining is permitted as long as businesses follow physical distancing rules and safety measures.
The government says it’s also strengthening public safety measures for both indoor and outdoor locations, including:
- Limiting tables for indoor dining to members of the same household (exemptions made for those who live alone and caregivers)
- Limiting tables for indoor dining in the grey zone to members of the same household (exemptions made for those who live alone and caregivers)
- Food establishments must also post a sign informing the public of maximum capacity
Officials say the decision was made in consultation with medical officers of health, as well as local trends and conditions.
“With the significant and increasing risk of COVID-19 variants, the next few weeks will be critical in our fight against COVID-19,” said Christine Elliot, the Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, in a press release. “Thanks to the tireless efforts of our frontline health care workers we continue to accelerate our vaccine rollout, but until all Ontarians can receive the vaccine, we must not let our guard down and continue following public health advice. This remains our best defense.”
While Toronto and Peel Region remains in the grey or lockdown level, the province says they’ll be working with their public health units to determine whether adjustments will be made to allow for more outdoor activities.