Ontario is set to return to the Provincial colour-coded COVID-19 response framework this coming Tuesday, February 16 at 12:01 a.m. as part of Stage 3 – Reopening. The Algoma Disctrict, including Sault Ste. Marie, is set to transition to “Yellow-Protect” of the Province’s COVID-19 Response Framework where strengthened measures will be in effect to limit further transmission and mitigate high-risk settings.
Algoma Public Health is cautioning communities in Algoma to remain vigilant and be familiar with restriction measures in other colour-coded zones should a change be required prior to the Tuesday re-opening.
To help residents and businesses prepare for reopening in Sault Ste. Marie and the Algoma District, we have compiled some key guidelines and rules for the Yellow-Protect zone the area is set to transition to.
Zone: Yellow – Protect
The following are restrictions within the zone:
- Limits for certain organized public events and social gatherings such as functions, parties, dinners, gatherings, barbeques or wedding receptions held in private residences, backyards, or parks, where physical distancing can be maintained:
- 10 people indoors
- 25 people outdoors
- Limits for organized public events and gatherings in staffed businesses and facilities, where physical distancing can be maintained (including cinemas, business meeting spaces, and performing arts facilities):
- 50 people indoors
- 100 people outdoors
- Limits for religious services rites or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services, where physical distancing can be maintained (applies in any venue other than a private dwelling):
- 30 per cent capacity of the room indoors
- 100 people outdoors
- Restaurants, bars, and other food and drink establishments are permitted to reopen so long as patrons are seated with a two metre minimum between tables. There will be a limit of six people allowed to sit together, and buffet style service will not be permitted. Establishments must be closed from 12 a.m. to 5 a.m. and liquor can only be served between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. Dancing, singing and performing music is permitted with restrictions.
- Sports and recreational facilities are also permitted to reopen, with limited capacity per venue and physical distancing in play (unless engaged in a sport). A maximum of 50 people are permitted per sports league.
Retail stores are permitted to reopen, with limited fitting rooms.
- Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments are permitted to reopen without table games at a limited capacity.
- Personal care services, except for steam rooms, saunas, and oxygen bars, are permitted to reopen.
All open businesses must:
- screen employees or essential visitors before going to work each day
- post signs at all entrances informing people how to screen themselves for COVID-19 before entry
- limit capacity so customers can stay at least 2 metres apart (see more below)
- make sure anyone indoors wears a mask or face covering, including workers who have to come within 2 metres of anyone else (with some exceptions)
- Scarves, buffs, balaclavas, and bandanas are insufficient
- make sure workers use personal protective equipment (PPE) that protects the eyes, nose and mouth when they must come within 2 metres of anyone who is not wearing a mask or face covering or separated by plexiglass
- clean and disinfect often-touched surfaces, such as equipment, washrooms, locker rooms, change rooms and showers frequently
- manage line ups to make sure customers are at least two metres apart wearing face coverings or masks
- create a safety plan, post it in a place where workers and patrons will see it and have it available upon request (for example, to inspectors or law enforcement officers)
Businesses must operate in compliance with the above instructions. Retail stores must also:
- fitting rooms cannot be right next to each other
- guests must wear a mark or face covering and stay at least 2 metres apart inside and when lining up and gathering outside
All businesses or facilities must limit capacity so that every member of the public is able to maintain two metres of physical distancing from every other person. All businesses or facilities that engage in retail sales to the public must post a sign in a location visible to the public that states the maximum capacity they are permitted to operate under.
As an additional level of safety, small businesses are permitted to maintain the current limit(s) of the number of people occupying any room open to the public to a capacity limit of 50%. All discount and big box stores are permitted to maintain the number of persons occupying any room that is open to the public to 25% capacity of the particular room.
Restaurants, bars and other food & drink establishments
- sit with at least 2 metres between tables
- wear masks or face coverings except when eating or drinking (with some exceptions)
- wear a mask or face covering and keep 2 metres apart when lining up
- give their name and contact information
- establishments must close by midnight
- alcohol cannot be sold after 11 p.m.
- no one can drink alcohol after midnight
- more than 6 people per table
Sports and recreational fitness facilities
Retail stores can only be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. These hours of operation do not apply to:
- Indoors:10 people per class
- 50 people in areas with weights or exercise equipment
- 50 spectators
- 25 people per class
- 100 spectators
Capacity limits apply per room if the facility follows Guidance for facilities for Sport and Recreational Fitness Activities During COVID-19.
- always wear masks or face coverings except when exercising or playing sports (with some exceptions)
- stay 3 metres apart in classes or areas with weights or exercise equipment and 2 metres apart everywhere else
- make reservations (only one required per team)
- give their name and contact information
Team and individual sports must:
- be modified to avoid physical contact
Stay safe in all coloured zones
Even if there is no longer a stay-at-home order in your area, staying home is still the best way to protect yourself and others. You are strongly advised to:
- stay home as much as possible
- avoid social gatherings
- limit close contacts to your household
- work from home if possible, and allow your employees to work from home if they can
avoid travel except for essential reasons
Follow public health advice:
- stay home if you have symptoms, even if they are mild
- wear a mask correctly
- wash your hands thoroughly and regularly
cover your cough
- download the COVID Alert mobile app
- get tested if you have symptoms compatible with COVID-19, or if you’ve been advised of exposure by your local public health unit or through the COVID Alert mobile app
Avoid travel except for essential reasons. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others.
Travel between regions will greatly increase the potential for spikes in community spread and undo the progress we have made. You should avoid travelling except for essential reasons.
Inter-provincial and international travel
Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health strongly advises that travel out of the province should be limited to essential purposes only. Individuals and families who consider travelling to another province for essential reasons during the holidays should:
- consider the risk associated with travelling – this includes COVID-19 transmission in the other province, entry requirements (for example, quarantine) of some other provinces
- self-quarantine, or drastically reduce close contact with others 10 to 14 days before travelling and after returning home, to help lower the risk of exposure to COVID-19
- follow general public health advice, rules and regulations of Ontario and the other province
When you return to Canada from abroad, you must:
- self-isolate (quarantine) and stay home for 14 days whether you have symptoms or not
- get tested for COVID-19 on arrival at Toronto Pearson International Airport, as part of our six-point plan to stop the spread of COVID-19covid 19 variants of concern