Businesses prepare for stricter COVID-19 restrictions after region enters orange zone
KITCHENER -- Waterloo Region officially went into the orange zone on Monday, meaning additional COVID-19 restrictions for many businesses.
Some are already gearing up for the possibility of entering the red level, the most severe restrictions before the province orders a full lockdown.
While orange level still allows indoor dining inside restaurants, there are much stricter measures than in yellow. Those orange zone restrictions include:
- Maximum capacity of 50 people
- Restaurants and bars must close at 10 p.m.
- Last call for alcohol is at 9 p.m.
- A limit of four people per table
Gyms are also allowed a maximum of 50, visitation limits of 90 minutes and no spectators at recreational sports, except for parents or guardians of children.
Many businesses are now also required to screen patrons upon entry. The province suggested using a questionnaire as an example.
At Almadina in Waterloo, the owner has taken further steps beyond the orange zone requirements by pulling the plug on indoor dining.
"We've seen a rise in cases in our region and we wanted to do our part as a community as a responsible community business to help in any way we can," said Shamina Sheik, CEO of Almadina Cuisine.
"For safety and as a precautionary measure, we, for the safety of our employees and our guests, we decided to close down the dining room as of today."
Her decision comes as Waterloo Region logged its second-highest daily case count ever, with 67. That's overshadowed only by the 71 cases reported back in April.
The number of local outbreaks has also grown to more than two dozen, while an outbreak linked to a restaurant in Kitchener has doubled to 24 cases since last week.
On Friday, local public health officials warned businesses to prepare for the possibility of a move to the red zone this week. Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic also took to Twitter on Monday morning to warn businesses that stricter measures may be on their way.