Brantford and Brant County move to Phase 2 reopening

The Ontario government has now outlined details of Phase 2 for their plan to lift restrictions on its semi-lockdown, implemented to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

Twenty-four of Ontario’s 34 public health units will be allowed to move into Phase 2 as of Friday. The remaining 10, will need to wait until new daily COVID-19 case numbers consistently decrease.

Restaurants, hair salons, and malls will be able to reopen in parts of Ontario, including Brantford Brant, but not in the Haldimand-Norfolk area.

The province is also increasing social gathering rules, now allowing groups of up to 10 people as of Friday.

The Brant County Health Unit is reporting one new case of COVID-19 Monday, for a total of 113. 103 Brantford-Brant residents have recovered, four have died.

In Haldimand Norfolk, the total number of positive cases remains unchanged at 395. There have been 31 deaths, and 139 people have recovered.

Provincially, there are 243 new cases of COVID-19 Monday, the lowest number of new infections since late March. In total, there have been 30,860 confirmed cases in Ontario, including 24,492 resolved cases and 2,450 deaths.

The increased social gathering rules apply to the entire province, regardless of whether the region is moving to Stage 2. Ontario is also allowing places of worship to reopen, with attendance limited to 30 percent capacity.

Health Minister Christine Elliot says as a result of efforts of all Ontarians to stop the spread of COVID-19, many regions have met the criteria to move into the next stage of the reopening plan, and the regional approach
recognizes that different areas of the province are experiencing COVID-19 differently and can safely and gradually ease restrictions and reopen local businesses.

The reopening list includes outdoor services at restaurants, bars, and other establishments, including patios, curbside, parking lots, and adjacent properties, as well as select personal and personal care services with the proper health and safety measures in place, including tattoo parlours, barbershops, hair salons, and beauty salons.

Shopping malls under existing restrictions, including food services, may also reopen for take-out and outdoor dining only. Tour and guide services, such as bike and walking, bus and boat tours, as well as tasting and tours for wineries, breweries, and distilleries, are also included.

Water recreational facilities such as outdoor splash pads and wading pools, and all swimming pools, as well as beach access and additional camping at Ontario Parks and camping at private campgrounds, are now allowed as well.

Outdoor team sports facilities may also reopen with limits to enable physical distancing.

Also included in the reopening list are drive-in and drive-through venues for theatres, concerts, animal attractions, and cultural appreciation, such as art installations, film, and television production activities, with limits to enable physical distancing, weddings, and funerals, with restrictions on social gatherings to 10 people.

The province has also announced new measures to make it easier for licensed bars and restaurants to open or expand patios. Attorney General Doug Downey says the Liquor Licence Act has been amended to “cut red tape” to allow all licensed establishments to add a patio or extend an existing one to accommodate social distancing. Downey says the application process and rules around barriers have been simplified.

The province says any licensed establishment wishing to extend or open a patio will be permitted to do so provided conditions are met.