What moving to the red tier will mean for Waterloo Region businesses
KITCHENER -- On Monday, the Region of Waterloo will move into the red "control" tier in Ontario's COVID-19 response framework. The move will take effect just one week after the region was put in the orange tier.
When the province first unveiled the framework earlier this month, it listed Waterloo Region in the green tier. It was upgraded to the yellow tier last week, and then orange this week. After recently lowering the thresholds for each tier, however, Waterloo Region has a number of indicators that suggest it should be placed in the red zone.
When the region moves into the red tier, gathering limits for all organized public events and social gatherings will be capped at five people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
Under the red tier, restaurants will be capped at 10 customers indoors, but outdoor dining, drive thrus and delivery are allowed. Dancing, singing and live performances of brass or wind instruments aren't allowed.
Gyms and fitness centres will be capped at 10 people for indoor classes or indoor weight/exercise areas. There can be as many as 25 people in outdoor classes. Sports and recreation programs at arenas and multiplexes will be limited to 10 people per room indoors, and 25 people outdoors. Team sports will only be allowed for training, with no games or scrimmages. There will be no contact allowed for team or individual sports.
Cinemas will close except for drive-ins and rehearsals or broadcasted events. Performing arts centres will close under the red tier.
Meeting and event spaces will only be allowed to have 10 people inside and 25 people outside, along with casinos and bingo halls.
Food courts in malls will be capped at seating for 10 people. Malls and retail stores should consider limiting capacity heading into the winter holiday season too, the province said.
Personal care services where a face covering needs to be removed won't be allowed.
Waterloo Region has reported more than 10 per cent of its total cases in the last week alone. There are currently 333 active cases of the disease in the region, and officials warned Monday that there could be 260 new cases a day by mid-December.
The province announced additional support for businesses on Friday afternoon, saying there will be $600 million to help cover fixed costs like energy and property tax bills.
Applications open on Tuesday for businesses in red or lockdown tiers.
More information on applications can be found at ontario.ca/covidsupport.