What Durham’s move into the Red-Zone means

Effective Monday, November 23, 2020, Durham Region will move into the Red-Control category of the provincial framework.

This means that broader-scale measures and restrictions will be in place to further control transmission in our city and for the health and safety of our community members, including new limits and hours of operation in place for capacities at restaurants and gyms.

The City of Oshawa urges everyone to do their part to:

  • protect ourselves and one another, including our front-line and essential workers;
  • keep our local economy open and support family-owned and other local businesses; and
  • support our local health care system and help ensure it doesn’t become overburdened.

Every action matters. Community members must commit to these four steps to stop the spread of COVID-19:

  1. Stay home – avoid non-essential travel. Limit trips outside of your home to only essential reasons like medical appointments.
  2. Stay apart – Maintain 2-metres distance from anyone who doesn’t live with you or is not your essential caregiver.
  3. Mask up – Wear a non-medical mask when it’s difficult to maintain physical distance and where masks are mandatory.
  4. Lather up – Wash your hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.

Community members are also reminded to download the COVID Alert appThe City continues to post updates to its webpage at www.Oshawa.ca/Coronavirus. Visit the webpage for the latest updates on changes to services and programs, as well as frequently asked questions and resources.

John Henry, Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer:

“As cases continue to rise across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, Durham Region was notified that the Province of Ontario is taking additional steps to help prevent the spread in Durham Region.

Effective Monday, November 23, the Region will move into the Red-Control category of the provincial framework.

This means broader-scale measures and restrictions across multiple sectors, to control transmission.

It’s a necessary step to help us continue the fight against COVID-19 and flatten the curve.

This means that there will be several changes coming to Durham Region, in order to help keep you and your family safe.

  • Gathering limits for all organized public events and social gatherings: 5 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, including private dwellings
  • Gathering limit for religious services, wedding ceremonies and funeral services: 30 per cent capacity indoors and 100 people outdoors
  • Requirement for face coverings in indoor public spaces, with limited exemptions
  • Requirement for face coverings at indoor workplaces
  • Requirement for workplace screening Where patrons without face coverings are within 2 metres of workers, workers must use additional protections such as eye protection
  • Advice to restrict non-essential travel from areas of high-transmission to areas of low transmission
  • Trips outside of the home should only be for essential reasons (work, school, groceries/pharmacy, health
    care, assisting vulnerable individuals, or exercise and  physical activity).
  • Families should not visit any other household or allow visitors in their homes.
  • Everyone should avoid social gatherings. Work remotely, where possible.

These are just a few examples of the new changes that are now in place for Durham Region. For a full list of changes and for more information, visit Ontario.ca.

I urge you all to make informed decisions to help keep your family, your friends, and your neighbours safe.

Please, keep your social interactions to those within your own household and avoid hosting guests.

Wash your hands frequently, stay six feet apart, wear your mask, and download the COVID Alert app.

Remember to visit durham.ca/COVIDCases for the latest available case information in Durham Region.

It has been a long, hard road since this all started in March. I know we are all tired. But we have to dig deeper. We must continue to work together to protect those in our communities. I am proud of the work we have done so far—and will continue to do—to flatten the curve.

Together we remain #DurhamStrong.”

Based on the latest data, the following public health unit regions will move from their current level in the framework to the following levels effective Monday, November 23, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.:

  • Red-Control
    • Durham Region Health Department; and
    • Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services.
  • Orange-Restrict
    • Huron Perth Public Health;
    • Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit;
    • Southwestern Public Health; and
    • Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.
  • Yellow-Protect
    • Chatham-Kent Public Health;
    • Eastern Ontario Health Unit;
    • Grey Bruce Health Unit;
    • Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health;
    • Peterborough Public Health; and
    • Thunder Bay District Health Unit.

Trends in public health data will continue to be reviewed weekly to determine if public health units should stay where they are or be moved into a higher level. Public health units will stay in their level for a minimum of 28 days, or two COVID-19 incubation periods, at which time, the government will assess the impact of public health measures to determine if the public health unit should stay where they are or be moved to a different level. The Ministry of Health will continue to communicate regularly with local medical officers of health on local context and conditions to help inform the classification of their public health unit region.

For long-term care homes, visitor restrictions apply to those homes in the public health units that are in the Orange-Restrict level or higher. To further protect the health and safety of those in long-term care homes, staff, essential caregivers and support workers who provide direct care to residents in those regions will be tested more frequently for COVID-19, moving from bi-weekly tests to weekly as of November 23, 2020. In addition, support workers who provide direct care and caregivers in those regions will be asked to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result in the past week and verbally attest that they have not subsequently tested positive.

For retirement homes, homes in public health regions that are in Red-Control or higher will be in high alert with visitor restrictions as outlined in the Retirement Homes COVID-19 Visitor Policy. Homes will continue to be notified of their alert status by the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority.

“Advising regions to move into a lockdown is not a decision we take lightly, but it is one that is needed to ensure the safety of the people of Peel and Toronto,” said Dr. Williams. “Now more than ever, it is critical that all Ontarians continue to follow public health advice to help stop the spread of the virus. Everyone has a role to play to protect each other. We are interdependent and nothing can be done without the commitment of each individual, family and community.”

To further support public health regions, the province is making additional enforcement mechanisms available to local medical officers of health who have applied additional measures based on their local conditions and needs. The government is amending Ontario Regulation 950 under the Provincial Offences Act, allowing for a ticket to be issued for any contravention of a COVID-19 specific communicable disease class order issued by a medical officer of health. The government will also ask the Chief Justice of the Ontario Court of Justice to establish a set fine to be attached to any ticket issued for violating a section 22 order relating to COVID-19 made by a local medical officer of health.

“We are asking Ontarians to familiarize themselves with the restrictions in place, follow the rules and public health guidance, and support enforcement officers who are working to help prevent the further spread of COVID-19,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “Our government will continue to work with law enforcement to ensure they have the tools they need to promote public safety and take the enforcement actions needed to prevent unsafe behaviour.”

Additional Supports Available for Businesses Affected by COVID-19 Public Health Measures

The Ontario government is now providing $600 million in relief to support eligible businesses required to close or significantly restrict services due to enhanced public health measures, doubling its initial commitment of $300 million made in the 2020 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support Recover.

Businesses can apply online for temporary property tax and energy cost rebate grants from the province, via an easy-to-use one-window portal. The rebates will cover the length of time that a business is required to temporarily close or significantly restrict services as a result of being located in an area categorized as Red-Control or Lockdown, or previously categorized as modified Stage 2 public health restrictions. Most businesses can expect to receive their rebate payments within a few weeks of submitting a complete application. A detailed list of eligible businesses, as well as instructions for applying, can be found at Ontario.ca/covidsupport.

The federal and provincial governments have been working collaboratively together to deliver benefits and supports to individuals, families and businesses since the onset of COVID-19. Consistent with this, Ontario will work with the federal government to ensure these supports for businesses in COVID-19 hotspots are available in the most straightforward and seamless way possible by integrating these rebates with the federal Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) program.

“We will double the funding we have made available to support employers and jobs affected by the necessary public health measures we are taking to protect people during the second wave,” said Minister Phillips. “All of us know a small business owner struggling due to COVID-19. These necessary public health measures we have outlined today will create new challenges ― but as we committed in Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover, we will continue to be there to protect jobs and support employers.”


Quick Facts

  • If you have questions about what will be open or impacts to your business or employment, call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.
  • Find out what level and which regional public measures are in place for your area.
  • Municipalities and local medical officers of health may have additional restrictions or targeted requirements in their region, on top of the public health measures required at their specific level.
  • The Ontario government has developed a $2.8 billion COVID-19 fall preparedness plan, Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19, to ensure the province’s health care, long-term care and education systems are prepared for the immediate challenges of the fall, including a second wave of COVID-19 and the flu season.
  • Get tested if you have symptoms compatible with COVID-19, or if you have been advised of exposure by your local public health unit or through the COVID Alert app. Visit Ontario.ca/covidtest to find the nearest testing location.
  • To find the right supports, visit COVID-19: Support for People, which has information about the many available and free mental health services and supports.
  • To stay safe you can download the COVID Alert App free from the Apple and Google Play app stores.

 

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