Public Health Sudbury & Districts moving to yellow level of provincial COVID-19 response framework

Today, the Government of Ontario placed Public Health Sudbury & Districts in the “Yellow-Protect” category of the provincial COVID-19 response framework. Strengthened public health measures will come into effect in our service area to help control the spread of COVID-19 on Monday, November 16, 2020, at 12:01 a.m. These measures include limited hours of operations for certain settings, reduced recreational program sizes, additional enforcements and fines, and enhanced education in high-risk settings.

“Our case counts are at an all-time high with 42 (updated) of our 204 total cases reported in the last week alone. We are averaging about 12 high risk contacts for each case so far. These numbers combined with how stretched our public health and health care systems are, mean that stronger protection measures are needed,” said Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Medical Officer of Health with Public Health Sudbury & Districts. “The Yellow-Protect restrictions must be accompanied by a re-commitment of everyone to the basic public health prevention measures. How this surge in cases evolves and the measures and restrictions that will be necessary to control it are in our hands. Make no mistake, our everyday actions either allow the virus to spread or allow us to contain it. We can choose wisely and dig deep,” added Dr. Sutcliffe.

Regardless of which provincial category we are classified in, we must assume that COVID-19 is everywhere and take necessary precautions. Keeping our communities safe and our health care, education, social services and economic fabric strong means counting on everyone to do the right thing – this means:

  • Limit travel outside the home to the following:
    • Attending school or work. Work from home if possible.
    • Essential trips for groceries, medication, and medical appointments.
  • Limit in-person social interactions to people within your household. Minimize interactions with people who don’t live in your house and one or two persons who are essential to maintaining physical and mental health (e.g. caregivers, social supports to someone who lives alone). This means you should avoid in-person social interactions with friends, with co-workers when not at work, and with extended family. When dining at restaurants, going to the movies, or partaking in other social activities, you should limit it to your household members.
  • Stay home if you have any symptoms of illness, however mild. While it is cold season now and many of us are used to mild infections at this time of year, a mild illness could be COVID-19 and may be much more severe for someone else who might catch it from us. Complete the Ministry of Health COVID-19 self-assessment tool or contact a local testing and assessment centre to determine if you should be tested for COIVD-19. By staying home if sick, we protect everyone else in our community.
  • Wear a face covering if you need to be closer than two (2) metres from someone outside your home during essential trips. Being in close contact with people presents the greatest risk of transmitting COVID-19, along with being in closed or crowded spaces. In Ontario, you must use a face covering (Government of Ontario) in public indoor spaces and whenever physical distancing is a challenge unless there is an exemption.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands often, cough or sneeze into your sleeve.
  • Limit exercise and recreation to outdoor spaces where physical distancing is possible.
  • Avoid travel outside of our area, especially to areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, unless for emergencies or urgent medical appointments.

In addition to these ongoing public health measures, there are some new and specific measures that come with the provincial Yellow-Protect category. All measures are listed in Ontario Regulation 364/20 under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act. Owners and operators of businesses and organizations are strongly encouraged to carefully review the regulation and determine which sections apply to their sector. The following general and sector specific restrictions highlight the key additional measures in moving from the Green-Prevent to Yellow-Protect category.

General restrictions:

  • Gathering limits remain the same for social gatherings and organized public events:
    • 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors for social gatherings
    • 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors for public events
  • Ongoing advice to restrict non-essential travel from areas of high-transmission to areas of low .
  • All businesses and organizations must have a safety plan in place.

Bars, restaurants, and event spaces:

  • Hours of operation are limited, and establishments must close at midnight. Some exceptions apply including takeout and drive-through or delivery service.
  • Hours of liquor sale are limited from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., no consumption allowed between midnight and 9 a.m.
  • Group seating are limited to a maximum of 6 people.
  • Contact information is required from all seated patrons.
  • Limit volume of music.

Casinos, cinemas, and performing arts facilities:

  • Hours of liquor sale are limited from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., no consumption allowed between midnight and 9 a.m.
  • Contact information is required from all patrons.

Sports and recreational facilities:

  • People working out must increase spacing to 3 metres apart.
  • Recreational programs are limited to 10 people per room indoors and 25 outdoors.
  • Contact information is required by everyone in attendance.
  • Reservations are required for entry.

Personal service settings:

  • Contact information is required from all patrons.

For detailed information on the specific measures we must follow and the provincial framework, visit: www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-response-framework-keeping-ontario-safe-and-open. Public Health continues to work closely with area businesses and organizations to provide support and answer questions.

For more information or if you have questions, please visit phsd.ca/COVID-19 or call Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705.522.9200 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200).

This item was last modified on November 13, 2020