Gyms, hair salons and wedding restrictions eased in lockdown

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In August, the Y in Petrolia started outdoor classes. With the multiple provincial lockdowns because of COVID-19, the Y has been closed for 30 weeks - and counting.

The province is once again changing the rules for communities who are in the Grey-Lockdown.

The Grey-Lockdown Zone of Ontario’s COVID-19 Reopening Framework is reserved for the communities facing the highest levels of the virus. Lambton, with the highest rate of cases per capita in the province, is one of five regions in lockdown today. Hamilton is about to enter the grey-lockdown zone Monday.

But there has been frustration and anger over just which businesses are considered essential and are able to continue operating in lockdown. Early in the pandemic, almost every retail business, except for stores selling groceries or pharmacies, were closed in lockdown. Recently the province moved to allow retail stores to open with 25 per cent capacity during lockdown.

But owners of gyms and those involved in the beauty industry were still left out in the cold.

Today, the province released new guidelines for those sectors. Gyms will now be able to open outdoor classes with 10 people in them. Patrons must register, be masked and stay three meters apart.

Personal care services like hair salons will be able to open on an appointment only basis April 12. They’ll be limited to just five patrons in a salon at a time. They’ll have to be masked and stay a two meter distance from other patrons.

And there are changes to weddings and religious ceremonies held outdoors. The province now says there are no limits on the number of people who can meet outdoors in one place for weddings, funerals and religious services as long as they can stay two meters apart. That doesn’t apply to receptions.

And marinas and boating clubs will be able to open restaurants under the guidelines starting Monday.

Here’s the full details of the changes:

Outdoor Fitness Classes, Outdoor Team Training, and Outdoor Personal Training

  • No patrons are permitted to be in the indoor areas of the facility;
  • Requiring patrons to make a reservation (no walk-ins);
  • Limiting the number of patrons to 10 people maximum;
  • Every person must maintain a physical distance of at least three metres from another person and activities that are likely to result in individuals coming within three metres of each other are not permitted;
  • Requiring that the contact information of all patrons be collected and maintained for a period of a month, and be made available for disclosure if required;
  • All patrons must be actively screened in accordance with the advice, recommendations and instructions of the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health;
  • Limiting the volume of music and requiring the implementation of measures to reduce/not encourage loud talking, singing or shouting;
  • Prohibiting the playing or practising of team sports except for training sessions for members of a sports team that do not include games or scrimmage games;
  • Ensuring that any equipment that is rented to, provided to or provided for the use of patrons must be cleaned and disinfected between each use and avoiding the use of any equipment or fixed structures that cannot be cleaned and disinfected between each use; 
  • No spectators are permitted, except for any person under the age of 18 who is engaged in activities in the facility may be accompanied by one parent or guardian; and
  • Requiring every person to wear a face covering in a manner that covers their mouth, nose and chin.

Personal Care Services

  • Implementation of strict capacity limits (The lesser of 25 per cent capacity or five patrons), subject to physical distancing.
  • Requiring that no member of the public may be permitted to enter the premises except by appointment;
  • Appointments must only be made by individuals or with members of the same household;
  • Limiting entry to the premises to only patrons who are receiving a service, with exceptions for a caregiver or children of the patron;
  • Prohibiting patrons from lining up or congregating outside of the establishment unless patrons are able to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres and are wearing a face covering;
  • Prohibiting services requiring the removal of a face covering that covers the mouth, nose and chin;
  • Requiring that the contact information of all patrons be collected and maintained for a period of a month, and be made available for disclosure if required;
  • All patrons must be actively screened in accordance with the advice, recommendations and instructions of the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health; and
  • Appropriate personal protective equipment must be worn by people providing personal care services.

In addition:

  • Steam rooms, saunas, and oxygen bars must be closed;
  • Sensory deprivation pods closed (unless they are used for a therapeutic purpose prescribed by, or administered by, a regulated health professional); and
  • Any locker rooms, change rooms, and showers must be closed except to the extent they provide access to a washroom or a portion of the business that is used to provide first aid.

Wedding, Funeral and Religious Services, Rites and Ceremonies

The province is also modifying outdoor capacity limits for weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies held in regions in all levels of the Framework. Effective Monday, March 29, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., capacity limits for weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies, will be adjusted to allow for the number of individuals that can maintain two metres of physical distance. This change does not apply to social gatherings associated with these services, such as receptions.

Effective Monday, March 29, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., permitting marinas and boating clubs to operate clubhouses or any restaurant, bar and other food or drink establishment for outdoor dining, subject to public health and workplace safety measures.