The Ontario government has placed Guelph and Wellington County in the red control level of its COVID-19 response framework — it is the second-highest level, just shy of a full lockdown.
The move comes after Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health’s medical officer of health announced on Wednesday that it was requested to the province that the region be moved into red.
Dr. Nicola Mercer said the city and two counties have seen significant increases in cases over the past week.
“I want to tell every resident of our region in the strongest possible terms, that COVID-19 is spreading very quickly in our community. The rate at which cases continue to grow — especially in the last few days — requires immediate action,” Mercer said.
Starting Monday, local businesses and other facilities will see a tightening of rules for 28 days in the hopes of limiting the spread of the virus.
All social gatherings must be limited to just five people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
Capacity will be limited to just 10 people at restaurants, casinos, meeting and event spaces, and gyms and indoor fitness studios.
The City of Guelph has also said it would close its pools and indoor skating rinks.
Guelph reported 31 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, raising the city’s total case count to 828 during the pandemic.
The city has already reported 207 cases in December, which is more cases than in the entire month of November, when 186 cases were confirmed.
Active cases increased to 140, up by eight from the previous day.