Brant County moving into the red zone Monday
KITCHENER -- Brant County will be moving in the red zone starting on Monday.
The province made that announcement on Friday, saying stricter COVID-19 restrictions will also begin in several other regions.
Both Toronto and Peel Region will remain in lockdown until at least Jan. 4, meaning all non-essential businesses will be forced to close. Hamilton will also be placed in lockdown starting Monday.
Niagara Region, meanwhile, will be moving into the red zone. No changes have been announced for Waterloo Region, which continues to follow red zone restrictions.
On Saturday, the Brant County Health Unit updated its latest COVID-19 numbers. They reported 20 new cases, with a total of 98 active cases. Two people are currently receiving treatment in hospital.
Two outbreaks have also been reported in the last week. One is listed as a manufacturing/industrial business, with a total of seven cases. Two more cases have been linked to a “food processing” location.
Dr. Elizabeth Urbantke, the Acting Medical Officer of Health for Brant County, commented on the situation Friday night. She said on social media that, through contact tracing, they had found several infected people had been mixing with people outside their households.
She’s recommending stronger individual measures to avoid an exponential spread of the virus.
“Household members of the symptomatic individuals who are waiting for test results should also self-isolate until test results are received,” Dr. Urbantke said. “If an individual is sick, but chooses not to get tested, all household members are advised to self-isolate for at least 14 days.”
She went on to say that siblings of symptomatic students will also be sent home.
PREPARING FOR RED ZONE RESTRICTIONS
Premier Doug Ford announced Brant County’s move into the red zone on Friday afternoon, giving businesses less than 24 hours to prepare.
Ramona Klink, the co-owner of the 2 Rivers restaurant in Paris, spent Saturday preparing for the new changes.
“I think it’s something that we have to do for everyone to stay safe,” she says. “It would’ve been nice if it could’ve lasted until Christmastime.”
Red zone restrictions mean it will be different inside the restaurant come Monday.
“For us, the biggest change is no live music,” says Klink. “We have great musicians who play here Friday and Saturday nights, so I’m going to have to cancel them.”
There will also be capacity limits at the restaurant.
“It will probably cut our revenue in half,” Klink admits.
Some businesses say nothing will be different for them.
“I don’t think it changes that much for us,” says Rebecca Vaughan, a clerk at the Paris Health Store. “We have cleaning protocols, letting the customers know on social media and letting people know as they come into the store.”
Some residents said they support the new restrictions.
“I think it’s necessary to help stem the numbers,” says Kathy McKenzie.
“I think we have to do what we have to do,” said another. “I think it’s important that we all try and pay attention now. So I think it’s a good thing.”
Stylist Tara Crump says her salon, Hair Dresser on Fire, can still operate under the new rules, and she's ready for Monday.
“We will be making sure to screen, as we already have been doing, making sure the salon is tip-top clean.”
The premier is hosting another emergency meeting this weekend and may announce further COVID-19 measures in the province on Monday.
-- With additional reporting by Natalie Van Rooy