Hastings and Prince Edward among first regions to transition back to less-restrictive Green level

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MONDAY, FEB. 8, 2021

BAY OF QUINTE – Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte, confirmed the easing of restrictions for businesses and social gatherings in the Hastings Prince Edward Public Health area Wednesday as it will be one of three regions reverting to the Green level of the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework.

“Due to the sacrifices the people of Quinte made to adhere strictly to public health guidance, our region was among the first to re-open schools and it will again lead the Province in the resumption of business. That helps revitalize our economy,” said Smith. “Thank you everyone for doing your part to help our community move forward. I’m especially appreciative of the essential and frontline workers who have worked hard and shown incredible dedication throughout this pandemic.”

The decision to return Hastings Prince Edward to Green is based on improving key indicators locally, including lower transmission of COVID-19, improving hospital capacity, and available public health capacity to conduct rapid case and contact management. The change will take place at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday Feb. 10. Other health units moving forward include neighbouring Kingston, Frontenac, and Lennox and Addington and Renfrew County and District.

While the government still advises strict adherence to public health measures such as proper hand hygiene, physical distancing, and wearing a facemask and still discourages non-essential travel, within Green-level zones, it has increased limits for gatherings in private settings to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors and those in staffed businesses and facilities, where physical distancing can be maintained to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. Religious services, including weddings and funerals, can be staged at 30-per-cent capacity of the room or with up to 100 people outdoors.

Retail operations may resume in-person operations with passive screening signage in place and they are required to prepare a safety plan in accordance with workplace safety guidance. Restaurants, personal care services, gaming establishments, cinemas, meeting spaces, sports and fitness facilities, and performing arts venues also may welcome patrons in accordance with safety plans and conditions.

While these three regions have been able to proceed at the Green level, the 28 remaining health units will remain under stay-at-home orders at this time, limiting travel between zones. The majority of the health units will return to the framework on Feb. 16, while those in Toronto, Peel, and York will return on Feb. 22. All remaining health units will transition to the framework at the colour level that corresponds to their case levels and hospital capacity at that time.

“Our government has recognized that some parts of the province are not in the same position we are in locally, so we’ve kept that stay-at-home order in place to reduce travel between zones and the threat of further exposure,” said Smith. “We will continue to monitor the data and listen to the advice of our medical professionals to ensure our region remains safe.”

Smith noted that as part of Monday’s announcement, the government has provided Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams an “emergency brake” that will allow him to work with local medical officers of health to recommend immediate measures to interrupt transmission.

Dr. Williams indicated that while today’s announcement is a positive step, it remains crucial that the public continues to take cautious measures.

“While we are seeing our numbers trend in the right direction, our situation remains precarious as the variants of concern remain a serious risk," said Williams. "By continuing to follow all public health and workplace safety measures, we can continue to reduce the number of new cases and the strain on our health system."

To learn about the rules in a Green level, please read the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework at https://www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-response-framework-keeping-ontario-safe-and-open.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

  • Learn more about how the Government of Ontario continues to protect its people from COVID-19 by visiting covid-19.ontario.ca.
  • Learn about Ontario’s vaccination plan at covid-19.ontario.ca/covid-19-vaccines-ontario.
  • Learn about support programs for businesses at ontario.ca/covidsupport.
  • Find out about provincial supports for individuals at ontario.ca/page/covid-19-support-people.
  • Learn more about the full rage of provincial and federal programs for individuals and businesses at www.covidsupports.ca/bayofquinte.