EOHU region moves into Yellow zone Saturday

Minimal changes to COVID-19 restrictions in the region.

November 6th map of COVID-19 infections in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit region. (Contributed/Eastern Ontario Health Unit)
EOHU Medical Officer Of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis – Zoom conferencing photo

CORNWALL – The Eastern Ontario Health Unit region, which includes SDG Counties, Cornwall and Presc0tt-Russell, will move into the Yellow zone under the province’s new colour-coded COVID-19 framework.

The framework was announced by the Ontario government November 3rd and sets out colour codes and public health restrictions based on each colour: Green-Prevent, Yellow-Protect, Orange-Restrict, Red-Control, and Lockdown,

When it was announced on Tuesday, the Ontario COVID-19 Response Framework placed the EOHU region in Orange along with Ottawa, Peel, and York Regions. Under a revision released today (November 6th), the EOHU moved to Yellow. Neighbouring health unit Leeds-Grenville-Lanark were placed in the Green zone.

The EOHU coverage region was under Stage 3 of the province’s reopening plan, with some additional restrictions placed by the health unit through a Section 22 order. Restrictions under the Yellow zone colour coding are essentially the same said Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, medical officer of health for the EOHU.

“There’s just a couple of changes that are there for [businesses] to have a safety plan,” he said. “And restaurants have to be closed an hour earlier. Nothing else.”

Roumeliotis said that after the new framework was announced, EOHU staff compared the restrictions to those already in place.

Restaurants and bars in the region will see hours of operation limited, closing no later than midnight. Liquor can only be sold between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. No liquor consumption is allowed between Midnight at 9 a.m. Contact information for all restaurant patrons is required, and there is a limit of up to six people seated together at a table. Tables cannot be combined. Music volume cannot be any higher than the volume of normal conversation.

Roumeliotis explained that the reason for the music levels to be low is to patrons don’t have to raise their voices to talk.

“The louder you talk, the further droplets can be projected,” he said.

Gyms and fitness facilities operating in the Yellow zone will have many of the same requirements as under the previous Stage 3 reopen plan. On-ice requirements remain unchanged in arenas. Other recreation or sport facilities will need to increase to three metre spacing from two between people in exercise or fitness classes. Recreation programs are limited to 10 people per room indoors, 25 outdoors. Contact information is required for anyone participating or attending team sports.

Meeting facilities excluding court, government services, churches, weddings, and funerals, follow the same limits of 50 people indoors, 100 people outdoors. All of the restaurant service requirements for hours and table groupings have to be followed as well.

A full list of the requirements are available on the Ontario Government’s COVID-19 website, available here.

While the restrictions under Yellow are essentially the same as this region is already in, the new framework will benefit businesses that have been closed in Ottawa under the modified Stage Two restrictions imposed a month ago by the Ford government.  Even with Ottawa remaining in Orange, some businesses, restaurants, and gyms will be able to reopen.

The new framework goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. November 7th.

Local numbers update

The total number of COVID-19 infections in the EOHU has increased to 676 people since the pandemic began. Eight new cases were added in the past 24-hours. There are 192 active cases, more than half of those are in Prescott-Russell, 48 are in Cornwall, and 28 in SDG Counties. South Dundas has had two COVID-19 infections overall, and currently there are no active cases. North Dundas added two new cases, increasing the total number of cases to 20.


Since you’re here…

… Thanks for reading this article. Local news is important. We hope that you continue to support local news by reading The Leader, online and in print. Please consider subscribing to the print edition of the newspaper. Click here to subscribe today.