London

London region moves to orange zone as province loosens COVID-19 restrictions

The London region will move to the orange zone of the province's COVID-19 response framework as local daily case counts remain low and no additional deaths have been reported in two weeks.

The move from red to orange comes as the region sees low case counts and no deaths

A sign informs customers that capacity limits are in effect at Masonville Place in London, Ont. (Colin Butler/CBC)

The Ford government announced the London region will move to the orange zone of Ontario's COVID-19 response framework starting 12:01 a.m. Monday.

The move comes as the region sees lower daily COVID-19 case counts. As of Friday, the seven-day average was 11 and there hasn't been a COVID-related death in two weeks.

"It's something we absolutely should be celebrating as a community, and that celebration should not be in large numbers indoors," said Dr. Chris Mackie, the medical officer of health with the Middlesex-London Health Unit. "Let's make sure we're keeping it as safe as possible."

Mayor Ed Holder credits Londoners' diligence in following health orders for the recent low transmission rates in the community.

"Colour-code restrictions may change, but our behaviours and attention to detail must not," said Holder. "You can become infected with the virus just as easily and in the exact same way whether in red, orange or yellow. The good news is, we can protect ourselves and those we are about in the same way."

Here's what a move to the orange zone means

Starting Monday, gathering limits will be increased to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. Religious services, including weddings and funerals, can accommodate up to 30 per cent capacity indoors and 100 people outside.

Restaurants can now have up to 50 patrons indoors. They're required to maintain a minimum two-metre distance between patrons or an impermeable barrier such as Plexiglass between tables and up to four people can sit together. Establishments must be closed between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Liquor sales at restaurants and bars are only permitted between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Sports and recreational facilities must maintain physical distancing of two metres between people, and three metres where weights or exercise equipment is present. Capacity is limited to 50 people indoors, with only 10 people in exercise classes.

Retail shops must have passive screening measures in place, such as a sign on the door about not entering if a person has symptoms of COVID-19.

Theatres and performing arts centres can have up to 50 people indoors.

Elsewhere in southern Ontario, Chatham-Kent, Elgin and Oxford will also move to orange. Huron-Perth will move to the yellow zone, while Windsor-Essex and Sarnia-Lambton will stay in the red zone.

For a full list of allowances under the different zones, visit the Ontario website.

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