As the province moves to Step One of the Roadmap to Reopen on Friday, June 11, Niagara Region Public Health is reminding Niagara residents of additional public health and safety measures as part of section 22 orders for food premises and retail. These remain in place to help keep our community safe, to continue to keep transmission rates low, and to help ensure Niagara will be ready for Step 2 of reopening.
When outdoor dining reopens in Niagara, diners at one table will once again be limited to just the same household (with existing exceptions for persons essential to physical and mental health of the party such as caregivers).
Local restaurants, bars, wineries, breweries, and other food and beverage service operators will also be asking for information including if diners have any symptoms of illness and recording information such as name, contact information and confirmation of dining with individuals from their household.
Research continues to build that in-person dining is inherently risky given it involves close interaction over a lengthy period of time without masks. It should be emphasized that this risk is inherent in the activity, and of no fault of owners/operators. After this measure was first instituted in Nov. 2020, Niagara saw a sharp reduction in infections related to public dining.
Shopping and Retail
In addition to the province’s regulations in regards to retail capacity and shopping malls, Niagara businesses will continue to carefully monitor adherence to the rules and actively ensure compliance with physical distancing and masking requirements inside stores, as well as outside in line-ups.
The owners and operators of establishments that directly interact with the public are on the front lines of where COVID-19 spread occurs. Their hard work and investment in protecting employees and clients prevents infection and saves lives in our community.
Working together we can achieve the necessary balance that will help prevent the spread of COVID-19, keep members of the community, employees and clients safe, while providing the opportunity for businesses to safely re-open and remain open.
Additional Public Health Guidance
As we safely and cautiously reopen, everyone is asked to continue to practice behaviours to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and to book their vaccination appointment if they have not already done so.
“The past six months have been difficult, with our lives disrupted to control COVID-19. We can be cautiously optimistic about better days coming as we begin to reopen on Friday,” said Dr. Mustafa Hirji, acting medical officer of health, Niagara Region Public Health. “However, the caution is that cases are still much higher than they were last summer, and the new Delta variant poses a serious threat to us. We need to proceed slowly and to practice vigilance to ensure a successful and sustained reopening.”
These measures will help to ensure reopening is successful and there can be a sustained economic recovery. As we see vaccinations increase, and hopefully cases decrease, the need for these orders will be continually reviewed and lifted when appropriate.