Code Orange: Eastern Ontario Health Unit joins Ottawa in the ‘Orange-Restrict’ level for COVID-19 restrictions

OTTAWA — Bars, restaurants, gyms, personal care settings and other businesses in Alexandria, Cornwall, Casselman, Clarence-Rockland, Hawkesbury and other areas of eastern Ontario face new restrictions today, as the region moves to the “orange” zone.

But the region’s medical officer of health expects the region to return to the “Yellow-Protect” zone shortly as COVID-19 numbers continue to decline.

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit joins Ottawa in the “Restrict” zone, following changes to the thresholds for the COVID-19 colour-coded system in Ontario on Friday.

Under the “Restrict” zone regulations, last call for bars and restaurants is 9 p.m., establishments must close at 10 p.m., and there is a maximum of six people allowed at each table.  Other restrictions include no spectators at sporting events and personal care services are prohibited from offering services requiring the removal of face coverings.

Eastern Ontario Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis told reporters on Friday that the region’s COVID-19 numbers have improved since Nov. 9, the data Ontario health officials used to determine the region would move into the “orange” zone.

“Despite my call at 4 o’clock (Friday) telling them that look our new data shows we’re in yellow, they said, ‘no, we want you to stay in restrict to make sure that your trends are downwards and then we can revaluate next week to go up,'” Dr. Roumeliotis about his phone call with Ontario health officials.

Dr. Roumeliotis said the Eastern Ontario Health Unit’s COVID-19 cases per 100,000 and positivity rates have fallen into the “yellow” zone following the spike in October and early November. Dr. Roumeliotis said the positivity rate has fallen to 1.3 per cent.

The thresholds for the Restrict level are a weekly incidence rate of 25 to 39.9 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people and a positivity rate of 1.3 to 2.4 per cent. The threshold to move into the “Red-Control” zone includes a weekly incidence rate of 40 cases per 100,000 and a positivity rate of 2.5 per cent.

Here is a look at the restrictions for the “Orange-Restrict” level for Ottawa and Eastern Ontario:

Gathering limits

Gathering limits for select organized public events and social gatherings (e.g., private gatherings at home, in parks, etc., barbeques):

  • 10 people indoors
  • 25 people outdoors

Gathering limit for organized public events and social gatherings:

  • 50 people indoors
  • 100 people outdoors

Gathering limits for religious services, rites or ceremonies, including weddings and funerals:

  • 30 per cent capacity indoors
  • 100 people outdoors

Other requirements: 

  • Requirement for workplace screening
  • Requirement for face coverings at indoor workplaces
  • Requirement for face coverings in indoor public spaces, with limited exemptions
  • Worker protections such as eye protection where patrons without face coverings are within two metres of workers
  • Development and implementation of a communication/public education plan (highlighting risk)
  • Advice to restrict non-essential travel from areas of high-transmission to areas of low transmission

Restaurants, bars, and food & drink establishments

  • 50 person indoor capacity limit
  • Limit operating hours, establishments close at 10 p.m.
  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • No consumption of liquor between 10 p.m. and 9 a.m.
  • Require screening of patrons 
  • Limit of 4 people may be seated together
  • Closure of strip clubs
  • Require contact information for all seated patrons
  • Limit volume of music (e.g., to be no louder than the volume of a normal conversation)
  • Safety plan available upon request
  • Require patrons to be seated; 2 metres minimum between tables
  • Dancing, singing and performing music is permitted, with restrictions
  • Karaoke permitted, with restrictions (including no private rooms)
  • No buffet style service
  • Night clubs only permitted to operate as restaurant or bar
  • Line-ups/patrons congregating outside venues managed by venue; 2 metres distance and face covering required
  • Face coverings except when eating or drinking only
  • Eye protection where patrons without face coverings are within two metres of workers

Sports and gyms

  • Maximum 50 people per facility in all combined recreational fitness spaces or programs (not pools, rinks at arenas, community centres, and multipurpose facilities)
  • Require screening of patrons, including spectators
  • Limit duration of stay (e.g. 60minutes); exemption for sports
  • No spectators permitted (exemption for parent/guardian supervision of children)
  • Face coverings required except when exercising
  • Increase spacing between patrons to 3 metres for areas of a sport or recreational facility where there are weights/weight machines and exercise/fitness classes
  • Recreational programs limited to 10 people per room indoors and 25 outdoors
  • Require contact information for all patrons and attendance for team sports
  • Require appointments for entry; one reservation for teams
  • Safety plan available upon request
  • Team or individual sports must be modified to avoid physical contact; 50 people per league
  • Exemption for high performance athletes and parasports
  • Limit volume of music (e.g., conversation level)/require use of microphone for instructor where needed to avoid shouting

Retail

  • Require screening of patrons at mall entrances
  • Limit volume of music (e.g., to be no louder than the volume of a normal conversation)
  • For malls – safety plan available upon request
  • Fitting rooms must be limited to nonadjacent stalls
  • Line-ups/patrons congregating outside venues managed by venue; 2 metres distance and face covering required

Personal Care Services

  • Services requiring removal of face coverings prohibited
  • Change rooms & showers closed
  • Bath houses, other adult venues, hot tubs, floating pools and sensory deprivation pods closed (some exceptions)
  • Require screening of patrons
  • Require contact information from all patrons
  • Safety plan available upon request
  • Oxygen bars, steam rooms, saunas, and whirlpools closed 

Casinos, Bingo Halls and Gaming Establishments 

  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • No consumption of liquor between 10 p.m. and 9 a.m.
  • Require screening of patrons 
  • Require contact information from all patrons
  • Safety plan available upon request
  • Capacity cannot exceed 50 persons.
  • Table games are prohibited.
  • OR casinos, bingo halls, and gaming establishments operate in accordance with a plan approved by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health

Cinemas

  • 50 per facility (revoke OCMOH approved plan)
  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • No consumption of liquor between 10 p.m. and 9 a.m.
  • Require screening of patrons
  • Require contact information from all patrons
  • Safety plan available upon request
  • Face coverings except when eating or drinking only
  • Drive-in cinemas permitted to operate, subject to restrictions 

Meeting and Event Spaces

  • Maximum of 50 people per facility
  • Limit operating hours, establishments close at 10 p.m.
  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • No consumption of liquor between 10 p.m. and 9 a.m.
  • Limit of 4 people may be seated together
  • Require screening of patrons 
  • Require contact information for all seated patrons
  • Limit volume of music (e.g., to be no louder than the volume of a normal conversation)
  • Safety plan available upon request
  • Booking multiple rooms for the same event not permitted

Performing Arts Facilities

  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • No consumption of liquor between 10 p.m. and 9 a.m.
  • Require screening of patrons
  • Require contact information from all patrons
  • Safety plan available upon request
  • 50 spectators indoors and 100 spectators outdoors with 2 metres physical distance maintained
  • Singers and players of wind or brass instruments must be separated from spectators by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier
  • Rehearsal or performing a recorded or broadcasted event permitted
  • Performers and employees must maintain 2 metres physical distance except for purposes of the performance
  • Drive-in performances permitted  

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