Simcoe Muskoka is in the COVID-19 yellow zone: What it means

Premier Ford has said the new system will give a clear understanding of where you are as a region

Ontario’s new tiered system for COVID-19 restrictions launched on Saturday, which places health units in colour-coded categories depending on their caseload and transmission levels.

The province set a new daily high for infections on Sunday with 1,328.

Peel Region is the only municipality in the red zone, one step away from a lockdown.

Soaring new cases has put some hospitals in Peel at capacity, with some patients now being shuffled to other health care facilities.

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is in the yellow-protect zone, and that includes the cities of Barrie and Orillia.

The City of Barrie issued a release laying out what this means for residents.

  • Gatherings are still limited to 10 indoors and 25 outdoors, but the Health Unit strongly advises that people only have close contact with their direct household at this time.
  • Workplace screening must take place.
  • Face coverings are required in all indoor public spaces, at workplaces, and recommended in places when physical distancing is not possible.
  • Restrict non-essential travel and think carefully about how often you go out and what outings are essential.
  • Monitor for symptoms and stay home if you are sick. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, get tested.
  • Local restaurants and bars must follow these additional restrictions:
    • must close at midnight
    • liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
    • require contact information for all seated patrons
    • limit of six people seated together and limit volume of music
  • Barrie Recreation/Community Centres, as well as local sports teams, must now implement these additional restrictions:
    • face coverings required except when exercising
    • space between patrons should be 3m for areas of a sport or recreational facility where there are weights/weight machines and exercise/fitness classes
    • team sports and pool activities will maintain 3 metres distancing while not playing sports
    • there will be a maximum of 25 players on the ice, and a maximum of 18 people allowed in the pool at one time
    • programs are limited to 10 people per room indoors and 25 people outdoors
    • require contact information for all patrons and attendance for team sports
    • require appointments for entry, one reservation for teams

The Premier said last week the new system will make it easier to understand when tougher measures are required.

“We’re giving you a clear understanding of where you are as a region,” Doug Ford said. “I know you want access to more data. I know you want predictability.”

Regions that move up into a category with tighter restrictions are locked in for 28 days. The status will be re-evaluated using two weeks’ worth of data before there is any chance of being moved into a lower category.