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Ontario downgrading Sarnia-Lambton to “grey-lockdown” on Monday

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Journal Staff

Ontario is hitting an “emergency break” and placing Sarnia-Lambton back in lockdown on Monday to slow the spread of COVID-19, the government said today.

The downgrade to “grey-lockdown” status under the province’s pandemic response framework is considered a declaration of emergency and brings more restrictions and closures.

Lambton’s Medical Officer of Health said the decision was based on a local rising case count, community spread, more outbreaks, and the appearance of mutated forms of the virus, known as variants of concern.

“The local situation is concerning as it has the potential to spread rapidly,” Dr. Sudit Ranade said.

The new restrictions, starting Monday, March 15, include:

* No indoor gatherings, other than with members of your household, and outdoor gatherings capped at 10.

* Restaurants revert to take-out only. No sit-down service.

* Indoor sports and recreation facilities closed. (Exemptions for high-performance athletes).

* Outdoor sports facilities for personal use only (no teams).

* Meeting spaces closed. Multi-use centres open only for specific social services.

* Further restrictions in retail store capacity, to 50% for groceries, convenience, and pharmacies, and 25% for all other retail stores.

* Malls must actively screen all patrons at entry.

* All other businesses will be closed, with some exceptions for drive-through and pick-up.

* Weddings, funerals, and religious services or ceremonies restricted to 15% total occupancy indoors; up to 50 people outdoors

Dr. Ranade had suggested earlier this week Sarnia-Lambton might move to “grey-lockdown” because the COVID-19 picture has not improved.

Another 23 cases were reported today, with 10 outbreaks under way and an incident rate of 102 per 100,000 residents.

Over the past month, the number of active cases has risen from 43 on Feb. 9 to 159 active cases today.

Lambton Public Health said residents can do their part by staying home, limiting close person contacts, and following public health measures.

The county is one of three Ontario health units changing designations Monday, and the only one moving to “grey-lockdown.”

In making the announcement, the province said the decisions were made in consultation with the local medical officers of health and based on public health indicators and local context and conditions.

For more on the restrictions, see COVID-19 response framework and O. Reg. 82/20:



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