The regions that fall under the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit and Thunder Bay District Health Unit will be moved to the gray exclusion zone of Ontario’s COVID-19 Response Framework on Monday May 1st March

The decision to activate Ontario’s “emergency brake” in these regions was made due to what the province described as a “rapid deterioration” in key local public health indicators and a high presence of COVID-19 variants, which continues go up in Simcoe Muskoka

The decision to put Simcoe Muskoka and Thunder Bay on gray lock was made in consultation with local health officials, the Ontario Chief Medical Officer, and the provincial government

“While we continue to see declines in the number of cases and other public health indicators in many regions of the province, recent modeling shows us that we need to be nimble and take additional action,” said the Ontario Minister of Health, Christine Elliott in a statement

“With the spread of COVID-19 variants in our communities, it is vital that everyone continues to strictly adhere to all public health and safety at work measures to help contain the virus”

Currently, both the Simcoe Muskoka and Thunder Bay regions are under Ontario’s red control zone of the coronavirus response framework However, more restrictions will be put in place when regions transition on Monday

In a statement made Friday, Dr David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer for health, said tightening public health policies in Simcoe Muskoka and Thunder Bay are “necessary” because of “data and local context and conditions”

On Tuesday, Simcoe Muskoka’s best doctor, Dr Charles Gardner told reporters he was considering asking the province to move his region to the gray lockdown category as COVID-19 cases increased

This week the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit reported a total of 169 new coronavirus cases last week that started on February.In 14 local public health reported 275 new COVID-19 cases, a 30 percent increase from the 211 in cases reported in the week of February equals 7

On Friday afternoon, the Simcoe Muskoka health unit reported a total of 184 cases of COVID-19 B117 variant that was first discovered in the UKand a total of 290 cases of a “worrying variant” The number of variant cases in Simcoe Muskoka is still the highest in Ontario

Public health in Thunder Bay recently reported an increase in COVID-19 cases, with the incidence rate being 1087 per 100000 last week between February 14 and 20 In the week of Feb 7 to 13, the weekly incidence rate was 754 per 100000

No indoor events and gatherings are permitted except among members of the same household. Single persons can consider being in close contact with another household to reduce the negative effects of social isolation

Religious services and ceremonies, including weddings and funerals, are limited to 10 people indoors and 10 people outdoors

Indoor and outdoor meals are prohibited. Take-out, drive-through service and delivery, including alcohol, are allowed

Indoor and outdoor sports and fitness centers are closed, except for high-performance athletes and for specific purposes (including day camps and childcare)

Community centers and multi-purpose facilities may remain open for permissible activities such as childcare, day camps, and social services

Meeting and event spaces are closed, with the exception of childcare and day camps, judicial services, government services, mental health and addiction services, and the provision of social services

Personal shopping is permitted in all retail stores with capacity constraints. Supermarkets, convenience stores, and pharmacies must be 50 percent busy, while all other retailers, including big box stores, must be 25 percent busy

Retailers must publicly announce capacity limits and customers passively review Shopping centers must actively review visitors prior to entering

All movie theaters must close with restrictions except for drive-in theaters and those rehearsing or performing a recorded or broadcast event

Veterinary services and other companies that care for the health and welfare of animals (farms, kennels, stables, shelters and research centers) can remain open

Companies that provide services for the training and provision of service animals are allowed to remain open

Kennels and stables may be opened to the owner or representative of an animal for visits, care, feeding and riding if necessary

Short-term rentals of campsites that were reserved on or before November 22, 2020 are allowed No new reservations after Nov 22, 2020, are allowed except for those in need of accommodation

The campsite is open to trailers and recreational vehicles that are used by people in need of accommodation or that may be there according to the provisions of a year-round contract

Housekeeping, cleaning, and maintenance services are permitted, including housekeepers, cooks, nannies, human resource management, and domestic staff

Hotels and motels are operational, but their pools, fitness centers, meeting rooms, and other recreational facilities must be closed

Users are allowed to enter libraries for contactless drop-off and pick-up and access to computers or photocopiers

Libraries may also remain open for permissible services such as day camps, child care, mental health and addiction services, and the provision of social services

Marinas and boat clubs can remain open Clubhouses, restaurants, pools, meeting rooms, fitness centers and other recreational facilities must be closed with limited exceptions

Nightclubs can only be opened if they serve as a restaurant or bar for takeout, drive through, or delivery service

Personal personal services are not permitted, including personal buyers, party planners, organizing services, personal trainers, and house sitters

Existing reservations from Nov. 22, 2020, will be honored regardless of time of rental No new reservations after Nov 22, 2020, are allowed except for those in need of accommodation

This does not apply to hotels, motels, lodges, resorts and other rental apartments, including student apartments

Strip clubs are only allowed to open if they are operated as a restaurant or bar with take-out or delivery service

Zoos and aquariums must be open to the public, except for drive-through events. They are also allowed to work to care for animals

Simcoe Muskoka Health Unit

World News – CA – Simcoe Muskoka, Thunder Bay, moves to March 1 March into the Ontario Gray Exclusion Zone