The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit area will be moved into the orange “Restrict” category of Ontario’s new COVID-19 response framework, Ontario Premier Doug Ford has announced.

The move will take effect as of 12:01 a.m. Monday, November 30, and is the result of a number of factors established by the Ontario government, including an increasing number of positive COVID-19 cases, clusters and outbreaks.

“We really don’t want to see our local businesses – already struggling due to COVID-19 – forced to close as part of a provincially-imposed lockdown,” says Kristal Chopp, Mayor of Norfolk County and chair of the board of health. “But given the Province’s framework, that will be the unfortunate reality if we aren’t able to keep case numbers under control in our region. That’s why it’s so important that, as we approach the holiday season, we continue following the public health guidance aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”

The “Restrict” category includes a range of measures required by the Province and designed to protect public health and prevent further business closures, some of which are already in place in Haldimand and Norfolk.

These measures include, but are not limited to:

  • Limited operating hours and capacity at bars, restaurants, meeting and event space and cinemas
  • Limiting the number of people who may be seated together to four at bars, restaurants, meeting and event space
  • Requiring contact information at bars, restaurants, meeting and event space, and for all patrons of sports and recreational facilities
  • Requiring attendance records for all team sports
  • Requiring appointments for entry to sports and recreational facilities
  • Increased spacing requirements at facilities where there are weights or weight machines and in exercise or fitness classes (minimum of three metres)
  • Personal services requiring the removal of face coverings (for example, beard trimming) prohibited
  • Gathering limits remain capped at 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.

The Province also continues to advise that all non-essential travel from areas of high-transmission to areas of low transmission should be avoided.

“Our community has witnessed first-hand the devastating consequences of COVID-19 outbreaks in high-risk settings,” says Medical Officer of Health Dr. Shanker Nesathurai. “For the health and safety of all residents in Haldimand and Norfolk, I urge everyone to stay at home unless there is a compelling reason to leave. Additionally, it should be noted that some activities – such as dining with others – continue to present a higher risk of COVID-19 transmission.”

Haldimand and Norfolk staff have implemented advanced COVID-19 safety protocols across County facilities and do not anticipate significant changes to municipal services at this time. Any updated procedures will be communicated to applicable user groups.

Details of the Province’s full framework, and the full list of measures required in the “Restrict” category, can be found on the Province of Ontario’s website