Niagara to stay in ‘grey-lockdown’ level of province’s COVID-19 framework

Widescale restrictions will remain for Niagara over the next week as the province has opted to keep the region in the grey-lockdown zone of the province’s COVID-19 response framework as of Friday.

Stores will still be limited to just 25 per cent capacity, while supermarkets, convenience stores, and pharmacies will continue to run at 50 per cent capacity.

Hair salons, barbershops, gyms, and yoga studios must remain closed.

Restaurants are still only allowed to provide takeout.

York will be the only region in the province seeing some restrictions eased when it transitions to the red-control level on Monday.

Toronto and Peel public health regions, as well as the North Bay-Parry Sound district, will see stay-at-home orders remain at least until Mar. 8.

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“While the health indicators have improved enough to allow us to return an additional region to the Framework, we are not yet at the point where we can safely transition back the remainder of the province,” said Dr. David Williams, chief medical officer of health.

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“Everyone is strongly advised to continue staying at home, avoid social gatherings, only travel between regions for essential purposes, and limit close contacts to your household or those you live with regardless of which level of the Framework you are in.”

In preparation for a potential move to red this week, Niagara public health opted to impose additional measures over concerns of a third wave of the pandemic spurred on by the arrival of variants of the coronavirus in Ontario.

The new rules still take effect Monday, despite remaining in the grey level, and limit gatherings at restaurants, bars and other such premises to just members of their immediate households.

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Additionally, diners would have to undergo screenings while business owners would have to “monitor and manage” shoppers in compliance with Ontario’s physical distancing and mask requirements.

Niagara reports 26 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths

Niagara reported 26 new coronavirus cases on Friday and recorded two more virus-related deaths.

The region’s total number of coronavirus-related deaths stands at 365. There have been 8,428 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.

As of Feb. 19, the region’s active cases were at 284, a drop of three, day over day.

Niagara has 23 total outbreaks made up of surges at 14 health-related facilities, which includes six in St. Catharines and two in Niagara Falls.

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Public health administered another 103 COVID-19 vaccines on Thursday. Close to 8,800 doses have been given out in the region as of Feb. 19.

Niagara is in the grey-lockdown level of the province’s COVID-19 response framework as of Tuesday.

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