As the third wave of the COVID pandemic takes a firm grip on the province Hamilton will be moved back into the Grey, or lockdown phase of COVID restrictions. The edict will have the biggest effect on the beleaguered restaurant and bar industry who were just beginning to contemplate a fuller reopening. Now indoor service is once again forbidden. The Ministry of Health release says the decision was made “in consultation with the local medical officers of health and are based on the trends in public health indicators and local context and conditions.” Halton was not mentioned in the release so the decision opens the possibility of region-hopping.
“Over the last week, we have continued to see some concerning trends in key health indicators in regions across the province,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “As we cautiously make targeted adjustments to public health measures to support the wellbeing of individuals and small business owners, it is critical that everyone remains vigilant and continues to strictly follow all public health measures and advice to keep each other safe.”
In moving Hamilton into the Grey zone the ministry proposes some relaxation of the original Grey restrictions.
Personal Service establishments will be allowed to re-open April 12 open with the following restrictions:
Implementation of strict capacity limits (Less than 25 per cent capacity or five patrons), subject to physical distancing.
• Requiring that no member of the public may be permitted to enter the premises except by appointment;
• Appointments must only be made with individuals or with members of the same household;
• Limiting entry to the premises to only patrons who are receiving a service, with exceptions for a caregiver or children of the patron;
• Prohibiting patrons from lining up or congregating outside of the establishment unless patrons are able to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres and are wearing a face covering;
• Prohibiting services requiring the removal of a face covering;
• Requiring that the contact information of all patrons be collected and maintained for a period of a month, and be made available for disclosure if required, as per the regulation;
• The active screening of all patrons in accordance with the advice, recommendations and instructions of the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health; and
• Appropriate personal protective equipment must be worn by people providing personal care services.
Wedding, Funeral and Religious Services, Rites and Ceremonies
The province is also modifying outdoor capacity limits for weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies held in regions in all levels of the Framework. Effective Monday, March 29, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., capacity limits for weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies, will be adjusted to allow for the number of individuals that can maintain two metres of physical distance. This change does not apply to social gatherings associated with these services such as receptions.
The other measures affecting the Grey Zone remain in place. They include:
- Schools, before and after school programs, and child care will remain open;
- Post-secondary schools open for virtual learning with some limited exceptions for training that can only be provided in-person, such as clinical training or training related to a trade;
- No indoor organized public events or social gatherings except with members of the same household. Individuals who live alone, including seniors, may consider having exclusive, close contact with one other person;
- All retail shops permitted to open with capacity limitations.
- Indoor dining prohibited;
- Outdoor dining allowed.
- Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments closed; and
- Indoor sports and recreational facilities, including pools, closed with limited exceptions.