Tougher COVID-19 restrictions take effect today in five Ontario regions

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Coronavirus

TORONTO — Tougher COVID-19 restrictions are taking effect today in five Ontario regions in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

The provincial government announced last week it would move Windsor-Essex into the red alert level of its tiered framework, the strictest level short of a lockdown.

In that level, indoor dining at restaurants and bars is capped at 10 customers, while social gatherings must have fewer than five people indoors and 25 outdoors.

Meanwhile, Halidimand-Norfolk is shifting to the orange level, and three other regions — Hastings Prince Edward, Lambton and Northwestern — are going into the yellow level.

The province says the regions will stay in their new categories for at least 28 days, or two COVID-19 incubation periods, before a change is considered.

Officials say they continue to monitor public health data weekly to see if any other regions require additional intervention.