Lambton locked down again; new rules start Monday

Dr. Sudit Ranade, Lambton's Acting Medical Officer of Health,

Lambton has the second highest rate of COVID-19 in Ontario

Restaurants, hair salons, gyms and arenas will feel the pinch again as Lambton moves into lockdown again on Monday.

The province is moving the community into the grey zone of the Reopening Framework again as the number of COVID-19 continues to rise and the fast-spreading variants are found here.

Today, there are 159 people ill with COVID-19. There have been 80 new cases in the past five days. Lambton has the second highest rate of COVID-19 in the province – 102 cases for every 100,000 people.

“The latest modelling suggests we are at a critical stage in our fight against this devastating virus, and that the actions we take now will help ensure people stay safe,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health in a news release Friday.

Lambton is the only health unit in the province moving into the Grey-Lockdown zone.

The Grey-Lockdown status is considered a declaration of emergency. Maximum measures are in place to implement wide-scale measures and restrictions, including closures, to halt or interrupt transmission of COVID-19.

Lambton’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Sudit Ranade, voiced concern about the rising COVID-19 rates in the community this week saying he is “uncomfortable with the trends.”

“It’s really tempting to go back into normal activities…I think what we’re seeing here is the impact of that,” he says.

“The local situation is concerning as it has the potential to spread rapidly in our community,” said Ranade in a news release Friday. “Increased rates of COVID-19 cases including a growing proportion of variants of concern, a number of active outbreaks and significant evidence of community spread are key indicators that support this decision.”

Wednesday, Ranade told reporters he has mixed feelings on going grey. “We’ve just come out of a lockdown so it is going to be really challenging to dive back into another one.”

Moving back in the grey-lockdown zone means restaurants once again will be closed to in person dining, businesses would have to operate with 25 per cent capacity and grocery stores at 50 per cent capacity.

Public gatherings indoors would be off limits and churches would only be able to have 10 people in the building at a time.

Hair and nail salons would also be closed again.

Gyms and arenas would also be closed.

A summary of changes and restrictions under the Grey-Lockdown zone:

  • Gatherings
    • No indoor gatherings with individuals other than your household. Option to join a household if you live alone.
    • Outdoor gatherings capped at 10.
    • Weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies will be permitted to allow for up to 15 per cent total occupancy indoors, or up to 50 people outdoors – announced today by the Ontario Government.
  • Restaurants
    • Take-out only. No sit-down service
  • Sports and recreation
    • Indoor sports and recreation facilities closed. Exemption for high-performance.
    • Outdoor amenities open for personal use (no teams)
    • Multi-use centres open for specific social services (not recreational)
  • Meeting spaces
    • Closed with exceptions. Open for specific social services.
  • Retail
    • Further capacity limitations
      • 50% primarily groceries/convenience/pharmacy
      • 25% all other retail
    • Mall must actively screen patrons before entry
  • Other businesses
    • Closed with some exceptions for drive-through and pick-up