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What will change as Middlesex-London moves to red control COVID-19 level

Snow lays at the base of a sign of London, Ontario in the city's south end on Nov. 2, 2020. Andrew Graham / Global News

The Middlesex-London Health Unit will be moving to the red level of the province’s COVID-19 response framework, up from the orange level, starting Monday, Dec. 14.

The move to red comes just one week after the region was moved to the orange level.

Read more: York Region to enter lockdown zone in Ontario’s COVID-19 pandemic plan

“I appreciate the anger, frustration, and disappointment surrounding this decision by the Ontario Government,” Mayor Ed Holder said in a statement on Friday.

“There will be no shortage of opinions and reactions, but I would rather focus on where there is widespread agreement: nobody in London likes where we’re at right now, nobody in London wants our situation to worsen, and everybody in London wants things to improve as fast as possible. That is my primary focus, and it should be ours collectively.”

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Read more: Coronavirus: 1 death, 33 cases in London-Middlesex as province moves region to red-control tier

Holder also used the opportunity to “empathize deeply” with those who will be severely impacted by the decision, notably small businesses.

“According to the available data, they are not responsible for the level of spread we’ve been experiencing in our community recently, yet these businesses and individuals wind up bearing a significant brunt of the consequences.”

Social gatherings

Under the red-control tier, trips outside of the home “should only be for essential reasons” and families should not visit other households or allow visitors into their own homes. However, the province says those who live alone “can gather with one household.”

Social gatherings should be avoided and work should be done remotely wherever possible.

The MLHU says gathering limits for all private and public events and social gatherings are set to five people indoors, unless everyone is from the same household, and 25 people outdoors.

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Gathering limits for religious services, weddings, and funerals are capped at 30 per cent capacity indoors and 100 people outdoors.

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The move to red will also result in sector-specific measures, as outlined below, in addition to measures implemented under previous levels. A full list of all measures in effect can be found on the MLHU’s website.

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Restaurants, bars, and food and drink establishments

A maximum of 10 patrons can be seated indoors, down from 50 under the orange level.

Singing, dancing, and live music performances are prohibited.

Sports and recreational fitness

A maximum of 10 people indoors or 25 people outdoors can take part in gym and fitness studio classes. Ten people are allowed indoors in areas with weights or exercise equipment — down from a maximum of 50 under the orange level.

Each class, organized program or organized activity must take place in a separate room or outdoor area, the MLHU says.

Read more: Ontario places Guelph, Wellington County in red control COVID-19 level

Team sports practices or games are prohibited, though training is still allowed.

Activities that are “likely to result in individuals coming within 2m of each other are not permitted.”

Casinos, bingo halls, and gaming establishments/meeting and event spaces

A maximum of 10 people indoors or 25 people outdoors is allowed per facility.

Retail

The MLHU says the “maximum number of patrons permitted to be seated indoors in mall food court is 10.”

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Personal care services

There are no changes under the red level from the orange level for personal care services.

Cinemas, performing arts facilities

All concert venues, theatres, and cinemas are closed, with some exceptions.

The health unit says rehearsing or performing a recorded or broadcasted event or performance is allowed if:

  • there are no spectators
  • those taking part maintain physical distance “except as necessary for the performance or rehearsal”
  • singers and those playing brass or wind instruments are separated from other performers by an impermeable barrier like plexiglass
  • performers’ contact information is collected
  • safety plans are made available on request and posted in a clear location.

Read more: COVID-19 outbreak declared at London’s St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School

The health unit says drive-in cinemas, concerts, events, and performances are allowed if:

  • everyone except for those who work in the venues stays inside their vehicles, which must also be “closed to the elements” (purchasing tickets and washroom use are excepted from this rule)
  • vehicles are at least two metres apart from each other
  • employees maintain physical distance from vehicles except when “facilitating purchase of admission or food or beverages”
  • food and beverage can only be sold if delivered directly to vehicles

Real estate

No open houses allowed.

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Racing venues

Closed to spectators.

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