Southwestern Public Health announced late Friday afternoon that, under provincial guidelines, this region, which includes Elgin, St. Thomas and Oxford, would be moved from the “green-prevent” tier to the “yellow-protect tier” under a new Ontario colour-coded pandemic restrictions system effective Monday, Nov. 16.
The region currently had an incident rate of confirmed cases of COVID-19 of 23.6 cases per 100,000 population, the health unit stated.
Dr. Joyce Lock, Southwestern medical officer of health, said, “We support the province’s decision to move our region into this stage because it adds further protections to those already in place.
“Our cases have risen by more than 50 percent since Nov. 1. We need to lower this number so that we don’t overwhelm our health care system, and we don’t see the illness and death associated with this virus.”
The new colour codes are “green-prevent,” “yellow-protect,” “orange-restrict,” “red-control” and “lockdown.”
Under yellow-protect, bars and restaurants must stop serving alcohol by 11 p.m. and close by 12 midnight, and no more than six persons could be seated together.
Music volume has to be no louder than a normal conversation.
Gym and fitness users must wear a face mask while exercising, spaces between patrons had to be at least three metres when using weight machines or in exercise or fitness classes, and recreation programs are limited to 10 persons indoors or 25 outdoors.