While the Region and Province continue to deal with high numbers of COVID-19, Niagara-on-the-Lake has been fortunate throughout this second wave, staying consistently low, says Lord Mayor Betty Disero.
And she is proud of residents and businesses who have worked hard to reduce the spread locally and keep themselves and others safe.
“Today we are at two unresolved cases, with no increases,” she said Monday.
“I want to thank all the citizens of NOTL for their continued vigilance in the actions they are taking to control the spread, and encourage everyone to continue to wear a mask if you go out, keep a good distance from others, and practise good hand hygiene.”
NOTL has done “an outstanding job in working together to control the spread,” she says.
But earlier this week, Niagara entered the orange zone, says Disero, who explains the change in the colour-coding system that moved NOTL from yellow to orange, saying “the first one medical experts found was too lenient, so this new chart is more cautious and restrictive.”
The provincial changes that impact NOTL include:
*Requiring screening patrons for symptoms of COVID-19 before entry into most public venues such as retail stores, restaurants, nail salons, hair dressers, gyms, etc.
*Forbidding removal of face coverings in personal services settings. This means that services such as nose and mouth piercings, and beard trimmings are no longer permitted.
*Gyms and fitness facilities can permit someone to be in the premises for a maximum of 90 minutes.
*Restaurants, bars, and food service premises may seat no more than four people at a table going forward.
*Restaurants, bars, and food service premises must stop alcohol service at 9 p.m. and must close completely by 10 p.m.
Local bylaw officers and the police are expected to lead enforcement of both provincial and municipal restrictions, she says, but we don’t have the resources for enforcement.”
Some other updates include closing the washrooms at Queen’s Royal Park and Simcoe Park, but that’s not to do with COVID, Disero says. They have always closed for the winter months because they are not built to operate during winter months.
The community centre will be closed on the weekends, due to lack of attendance, Disero says. In the fitness centre, the change rooms will be open, but the showers will be closed.
The walking track has been moved from the gym to the auditorium to allow for more participants to take part.
The arena will be closed for spectators, with one exception of allowing one parent or guardian per participant to stay and watch, if the participant is under the age of 18. Parks and recreation staff are working with IT to allow for online viewing for parents who want to watch virtually. The issue of privacy is one that will have to be addressed prior to implementation, she says.
Town Ambassadors have taken a bit of a pause for a couple of weeks, until the provincial numbers start to come down, Disero says.
And an announcement about the Christmas Parade: It will not be the traditional parade on Queen Street, but Santa will parade through all five villages, “so our citizens who are young at heart can watch from the comfort of their home or street. We are working on the route and safety measures. More information will come next week.”