Important Update For Businesses – Orange Restrict Zone

orange – RESTRICT graphic from Southwestern Public Health

Woodstock District Chamber of Commerce 
447 Hunter Street, Woodstock 519-539-9411

SWPH Region Moves to Orange-Restrict Zone

Media Release
February 26, 2021

Southwestern Public Health moving into Orange-Restrict Zone of COVID-19 Response Framework

New gathering limits set at 10 people indoors, 25 people outdoors; gradual easing of restrictions on businesses

Today the Province announced it will move Elgin County, Oxford County, and the City of St. Thomas into the Orange-Restrict zone of Ontario’s COVID-19 Response Framework based on local data and transmission risks. This change will take place at 12:01 am on Monday, March 1, 2021.

The regional incidence rate for the week of February 18 – 24 is 12.3 per 100,000.

“Following a very difficult December and January with high caseloads and many associated deaths, cases have decreased in all settings. Most of our cases can be traced to a specific source, meaning there is less community transmission. We are down to two active outbreaks in our institutions. However, we know that there are variants of concern circulating across the province and we must exercise caution to ensure they do not get a foothold here,” says Dr. Joyce Lock, Medical Officer of Health for the region.

“What I want everyone to consider is how, in the context of the Orange-Zone, you can stay safe. There will be a temptation to socialize more, to open our homes to friends and family. To gather in groups. I urge everyone to continue limiting close contact, to keep their distance, to mask up, and to socialize outdoors when the weather supports that opportunity. We don’t want a backward slide. We want to keep people safe and healthy until the vaccine is more widely available.”

Highlights from the Orange Zone include:

  • Always stay home if you have symptoms, physically distance by staying two meters apart from people you do not live with, wear a mask or face covering in indoor public spaces, and avoid non-essential travel.
  • Events and social gatherings in private homes, backyards, or parks (for example, barbeques) are limited to 10 people indoors or 25 people outdoors.
  • Organized public events and gatherings in staffed businesses and facilities (for example, event spaces) are limited to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.
  • Religious, wedding, and funeral services may operate at 30% capacity indoors or hold outdoor services of no more than 100 people.
  • Restaurants, bars, and other food and drink establishments have a capacity limit of 50 people indoors and a maximum of 4 people per table.
  • Sports and recreational fitness facilities have indoor capacity limits of 10 people per class or 50 people in areas with weights and exercise machines.
  • Personal care services: services that require a guest to remove their mask or face covering are not permitted.

A full list of Orange-Restrict requirements is on the website.

Ontario evaluates each health unit’s data regularly. The Province works with health units to move them in and out of zones based on these factors and in consultation with local Medical Officers of Health.

About Southwestern Public Health
Southwestern Public Health works with its partners to ensure the health of the whole community. Our programs respond to public health emergencies; promote healthy lifestyles; help prevent injuries, illness, and disease in the community; and promote positive change and social conditions that improve health. Southwestern Public Health delivers mandated programs under the Ontario Public Health Standards and is regulated by the Ontario Health Protection and Promotion Act. The health unit maintains primary locations in Woodstock and St. Thomas. For more information, visit

Megan Cornwell
Communications Manager | Southwestern Public Health
519-631-9900 x 1259 | 519-320-0819

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