The provincial government announced today the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge (HKPR) District Health Unit will be moving from Green-Prevent to Yellow-Protect under the provincial COVID-19 Response Framework.

The change will be effective Dec. 7. The change brings with it enhanced enforcement, fines and education to limit spread. The health unit will apply more measures in higher-risk settings.

HKPR medical officer of health Dr. Lynn Noseworthy said in a press release the change is not surprising.

“We are seeing more COVID-19 activity in our region,” Noseworthy said. “The new measures in the Yellow level are not much different than what we currently have in place but will enhance our ability to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.”

There is currently only one confirmed active case in Haliburton, but cases have spiked elsewhere in the district, with 23 cases active in Northumberland and seven in Kawartha Lakes.

According to the health unit, key changes under the new restrictions include:

  • Restaurants/bars must close at midnight.
  • Alcohol can no longer be sold or served after 11 pm.
  • A limit of six people can be seated at one table in restaurants
  • Eateries and other select businesses must keep contact information for all patrons who dine in. Currently, restaurants only had to collect contact information for one person in the party.
  • Gyms and fitness clubs must increase spacing between patrons to 3 metres (from 2 metres) in areas with weights or exercise equipment, as well as in exercise/fitness classes.
  • The volume of music in stores and businesses must be low enough so a normal conversation is possible, and shouting is not required.
  • Most businesses must now complete a COVID-19 safety plan and make it available upon request.

“Local businesses and organizations have done an excellent job following the public health measures designed to protect our residents,” Noseworthy said. “It’s important we continue to work together with our business community to ensure a smooth transition to the new restrictions coming into effect under the Yellow level.”

The local health unit will stay in Yellow for a minimum of 28 days.

“We all need to continue doing our part so we can quickly get back to Green,” Noseworthy said.

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