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Thursday, December 8, 2022
NEWS UPDATE: With cases spiralling, Niagara headed into red zone for Christmas

The Niagara Region is headed into the red zone for Christmas.

The province announced the tougher COVID-19 restrictions Friday, after a spike in cases in Niagara.

The red zone restrictions will come into effect Monday.

Betty Disero, lord mayor of Niagara-on-the-Lake, said the move from the province “does not come as a surprise.”

“We have all been watching the numbers increase for a few weeks with warnings” from acting chief medical officer Dr. Mustafa Hirji. 

“I am still very proud of the actions by our citizens over the past few months to protect each other keeping the infections down. However, we must now be more vigilant over these holidays particularly to ensure there is not large spike,” Disero told The Lake Report.

'There is a light at the end of this tunnel, the vaccine is coming. We just have to keep working together to protect each other a little longer and we will get through this,” she said in an email Friday after the announcement.

Moving out of the orange-restrict zone and into the red-control zone of the province's COVID-19 framework means the following:

  • All events and social gatherings are limited to five people indoors, down from 10.
  • Restaurants, bars and event spaces are limited to 10 people indoors, four people per table, with no live music. Establishments must close by 10 p.m. and stop serving alcohol by 9 p.m.
  • Meetings and event spaces limited to 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors
  • Only 10 people may be seated per mall food court
  • Store guests must wear masks while lining up and gathering outside
  • No personal care services that require masks to be taken off are permitted
  • Religious gatherings, weddings and funeral services are limited to 30 per cent capacity.
  • Fitness studios are limited to 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors, only for classes. Everyone must make reservations for contact tracing purposes.
  • No team sports, except for practice (no scrimmages)

All open businesses must:

  • Screen employees (for example, using the COVID-19covid 19 Screening Tool for Workplaces – PDF)
  • Limit capacity so guests can stay at least two metres apart
  • Make sure anyone indoors wears a mask or face covering, including workers who have to come within two metres of anyone else
  • Make sure workers use personal protective equipment (PPE) that protects their eyes, nose and mouth when they must come within two metres of anyone who is not wearing a mask or face covering or separated by plexiglass
  • Clean and disinfect often-touched surfaces, such as equipment, washrooms, locker rooms, change rooms and showers frequently

People can only go out for essential reasons, such as:

  • work
  • school
  • groceries
  • pharmacy
  • health care
  • helping vulnerable people
  • exercise and physical activity