The Northwestern Health Unit area will move from Green-Prevent to Yellow-Protect within the province's COVID-19 response framework as of 12:01 a.m. on Monday, November 30.

"The health and safety of all Ontarians is and will always be our top priority, that's why we are following the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts and making this adjustment today," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

 "Over the last week we have seen a shift in the trends of key public health indicators in regions across the province, and by moving these five regions to a new level in the framework, we can ensure that the necessary targeted measures are in place to stop the spread of the virus and allow us to keep our schools and businesses open."

Some of the new restrictions include:

  • Some businesses now require a safety plan. This must be a written plan that includes things like screening employees, ensuring people maintain at least 2 metres between themselves, disinfecting surfaces and objects, and supporting hand hygiene. The Government of Ontario has a template to help employers create a safety plan.

  • Food establishments and bars must be closed between 12 a.m. and 5 a.m., and no more than six people can sit together.

  • Liquor can only be sold or served between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. and cannot be consumed in establishments between 12 a.m. and 9 a.m.

  • Contact information must be collected from all patrons in settings such as restaurants, personal care service settings, meeting spaces, recreation facilities, and bingo halls.

  • Patrons of sports and recreational facilities must be at least 3 metres apart where there are weights/weight machines and in exercise classes. Programs are limited to 10 people per room inside and 25 people outside. Preregistration or appointments are required.

The shift to this level comes after a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in the Kenora region over the past week.