Peterborough Region Moving Back into Yellow ‘Protect’ Level to Control Spread of COVID-19

Written by Comms Team, February 16, 2021

Today at 12:01 a.m. Peterborough Public Health (PPH) moved back into the Yellow – PROTECT level of the provincial COVID-19 Response Framework as the Ontario government ended the stay at home order it brought in on December 26, 2020.

“It’s vital that residents understand a return to Yellow does not mean the end of public health measures, and that we all need to keep up our efforts with frequent hand washing, maintaining physical distance, wearing a mask, staying home when sick, and avoiding non-essential travel,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health. “I commend everyone’s efforts for helping to reduce the spread of the virus, and ask that these measures continue, as the risk from COVID-19 variants remain a serious concern.”

Dr. Salvaterra added the good news is that regional indicators continue to improve, so that it may be possible for PPH to return to the Green-PREVENT level. “The provincial approach has been to move down the framework more slowly, usually waiting for enough time to elapse to show that the indicators are indeed stable before restrictions are eased. We’ll need to stay at Green a little longer before we can earn the right to move down,” she explained.

The key indicators used by the Ontario Cabinet to determine which level public health units fit into according to the provincial framework include epidemiology of the virus (e.g., case incidence rate, % testing positivity), confirmed presence of COVID-19 variants of concern (VOCs), health system capacity, public health system capacity, and local context and conditions.

All businesses and organizations are advised to review the requriements of the COVID-19 response framework and the governing regulation – O. Reg. 364/20: Rules for Areas in Stage 3 for their pertinent sector. There are general public health measures applicable to all businesses and organizations open to the public including:

  • Complete COVID-19 Safety Plans that are posted and available for staff and members of the public
  • Active screening of all employees before beginning a work shift
  • Passive screening (posting signage) for all customers and members of the public
  • Ensuring compliance by staff and the public for mandatory masks and face coverings
  • Ensuring that an establishment is set up to facilitate physical distancing
  • Frequent cleaning and disinfection of equipment provided to the public and high-touch points in the establishment

Businesses and organizations are not the only ones required to follow enhanced measures to reopen safely. Julie Ingram, Manager of Environmental Health reminded residents that they, too, have new obligations they must follow as well.

“Regulations have been amended to include requirements that apply to individuals related to masking, physical distancing and being in close proximity with household members only,” stated Ms. Ingram. “This means that individuals are required to remain at least two metres away from any other person who is not a caregiver or a member of their own household. Also, if you choose to dine in a restaurant or go shopping, you can do so only with your immediate household contacts.”

Limits for certain organized public events and private social gatherings where physical distancing can be maintained is
10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. In staffed facilities (e.g. banquet halls), where physical distancing can be maintained, the limits are 50 people indoors or 100 people outdoors. However, the new restrictions that prevent non-household members from being seated together at tables will apply to all social gatherings as well.

Religious services, rites or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services, are limited to 30% capacity of the room indoors or 100 people outdoors as long as physical distancing can be ensured.

Peterborough Public Health will be providing more education for the community related to these new guidelines and enforcement of regulations will be heightened to limit further transmission of COVID-19.

For a full outline of the new guidelines please visit www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca.

-30-

For further information, please contact:
Brittany Cadence
Communications Manager
705-743-1000, ext. 391