Return to red: London and Middlesex region to move into red-control tier next Tuesday

Ontario is transitioning 27 public health regions out of the shutdown and into a revised COVID-19 response framework.

The province announced Friday afternoon the shift will take place Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 12:01 a.m.

The Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) will shift to red-control along with 10 other regions in the province.

How red zone will impact those in London and Middlesex

Gatherings: a maximum of five people can gather indoors, 25 people outdoors.

Dining: Up to 10 patrons can be seated indoors at a restaurant. Limit of four people may be seated together.

Weddings, funerals, religious services: 30 per cent capacity of rooms indoors, 100 people outdoors.

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Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments: 10 people indoors, 25 people outdoors.

Sports and recreational fitness facilities: 10 people in indoor areas with weights and exercise machines, 10 people in all indoor classes, 25 people in outdoor classes.

Meeting and event spaces: 10 people indoors, 25 people outdoors.

A full list is available here and scrolling down to “Red-Control.”

Changes to the red zone

According to the province, capacity limits impacting retailers have been adjusted:

  • 75 per cent for supermarkets and other stores that primarily sell groceries. Also for convenience stores and pharmacies.
  • 50 per cent for all other retail, including discount and big box retailers, liquor stores, hardware stores and garden centres.

Full details can be found here and scrolling down to “Red-Control.”

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“I think red is better than orange for us,” said Dr. Chris Mackie, the region’s medical officer of health, during a media briefing Friday.

“I do support the province’s decision to put us at the red level.”

The province’s announcement came as Ontario’s province-wide shutdown winds down, leaving Londoners wondering whether the region will be put in the more restrictive red-control or less restrictive orange-restrict.

Despite the region’s dwindling daily COVID-19 case counts, Mackie says the province still chose the more restrictive option for London and Middlesex.

“The province makes the decision based on data up to last Friday. At that point, our (weekly incidence) rate was about 39 per 100,000 (cases) per week, which was just on the border of 40,” he said.

“Of course we want to be careful as we lift restrictions and not to lift them too far, too fast.”

Orange-restrict can be assigned to regions with weekly incidence rates of 25 to 39.9 per 100,000 cases while red-restrict can be assigned to regions with weekly incidence rates of 40 per 100,000 or more.

Other factors such as percent positivity, repeated outbreaks and hospital and ICU capacity are also considered.

In terms of regions near London and Middlesex, Elgin-Oxford will move to the red zone, while Huron-Perth and Lambton will be in orange-restrict.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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