The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit will be moving into the red-control level of the province’s COVID-19 framework.

Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer, indicated Thursday that North Bay Parry Sound, Toronto and Peel health units will be moving into the province’s colour-coded framework.

On Friday, Christine Elliot, health minister, confirmed our health unit will enter the red-control level.

This means:

  • Gatherings of five people indoors, 25 outdoors are permitted
  • Weddings and religious services can run at 30 percent capacity indoors, or 100 people outdoors
  • Maximum of 10 people seated for indoor dining, with a maximum of four per table
  • Fitness centres can run with 10 people indoors, 25 outdoors with three metres of space given
  • Retail businesses can run at 50 percent capacity, 75 percent if they primarily sell food or pharmacy products

In long-term care homes that are not in an outbreak, essential visitors are permitted to visit including up to one caregiver per resident at a time. No general visitors are permitted to visit.

All changes will be effective Monday, March 8, 2021 at 12:01 a.m.

“I want to thank each and every member of our community for doing their part to protect themselves, their families and their neighbours. This is not easy. Many of us have had to make significant sacrifices but together we will get through these challenging times. With the vaccine on the horizon, I am hopeful that we are inching closer to a slow return to normal,” stated Dr. Jim Chirico, Medical Officer of Health.

The Health Unit reminds everyone that the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones is by following public safety measures, such as continuing to stay home, regularly washing your hands or using alcohol-based hand sanitizers, wearing a face covering, physically distancing, not touching your face, and coughing or sneezing into your sleeve.

“We have seen the COVID-19 situation can escalate very quickly, especially with the Variants of Concern. By slowly easing into the framework, I am hopeful that we can keep our COVID-19 case numbers low, including reducing the spread of VOCs. Until we have maintained a low number of cases and we’ve increased COVID-19 vaccination in our district, our best line of defense is to keep following public health measures,” finished Dr. Chirico.