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Grey Bruce moving to ‘green,’ Huron Perth to ‘yellow’ on March 1

TORONTO ­– The province has announced two local health units will be moving to new levels in the COVID-19 Response Framework on Monday.

The Grey Bruce Health Unit region (currently ‘yellow – protect’) will move to ‘green – prevent’ – the lowest level of the framework – and the Huron Perth Public Health region (currently ‘orange – restrict’) will move to ‘yellow – protect’  as of March 1.

The neighbouring Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph region will remain in ‘red – control.’

Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit and Thunder Bay District Health Unit will move to ‘grey – lockdown’ after the province slammed the ‘emergency brake’ on those regions following a spike in case numbers there.

The announcement comes one day after the Ontario government released the latest modelling data. That modelling shows that the efforts of Ontarians following public health measures and advice are working to decrease the number of new cases, deaths and hospitalization across the province. However, there is concern amongst health experts of the COVID-19 variants continuing to spread, and that a third wave may occur over the coming weeks if public health measures are relaxed too quickly.

“Due to data and local context and conditions in the Simcoe-Muskoka and Thunder Bay Districts, it was necessary to tighten public health measures in these regions to ensure the health and safety of the region at large and stop the spread of the virus,” said Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health.

Under the framework, the following restrictions apply to each level:

Green

  • social gatherings are limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, and organized public events are capped at 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors;
  • limits for organized public events and gatherings in staffed businesses and facilities, where physical distancing can be maintained, is 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors;
  • religious services and ceremonies, including weddings and funerals, are capped at 30 per cent capacity indoors and 100 people outdoors;
  • restaurants may open for dine-in service, with patrons two metres apart and wearing masks when not eating or drinking, along with other restrictions;
  • capacity at sports and recreational facilities is 50 people indoors or 100 people outdoors in classes, 50 people indoors in an area with weights or exercise equipment and 50 spectators indoors and 100 outdoors;
  • retail stores must have passive screening for patrons;
  • casinos may open with restrictions (table games are prohibited); and
  • cinemas and performing arts facilities may open, with restrictions.

Yellow

  • social gatherings are limited to 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors, and organized public events are capped at 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors;
  • religious services and ceremonies, including weddings and funerals, are capped at 30 per cent capacity indoors and 100 people outdoors;
  • restaurants may open for dine-in service with a limit of six people per table, along with other restrictions;
  • sports and recreational facilities may open, with restrictions; and
  • retail stores, personal care services, cinemas and performing arts centres may open, with restrictions. These businesses must also have passive screening.

A full list of public health region classifications and restrictions for each level can be found at Ontario.ca/covidresponse.