The Province announced today that Simcoe Muskoka is among the regions that will move to the red/control zone in its COVID-19 response framework effective Dec. 14, 2020.
Although there are few confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Muskoka (nine active cases as of Dec. 11 and a total of 106 to date), case counts have been rising in Simcoe County. That region currently has 360 unhospitalized cases and 15 hospitalized cases, and has had 2,478 cases to date.
Because the regions together comprise one health unit—Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit—the entire area is treated as the same zone.
What does that mean for Muskoka?
The following are among the increased restrictions:
- All organized public events and social gatherings limited to five people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
- Restaurants can have a maximum of 10 people seated indoors, with no more than four per table.
- Religious services rites or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services, where physical distancing can be maintained limited to 30 per cent capacity of the room indoors or 100 people outdoors (applies in any venue other than a private dwelling).
- Sports and recreation facilities, where physical distancing can be maintained, limited to 10 people in indoor areas with weights and exercise machines, 10 people in all indoor classes, 25 people in outdoor classes, and no spectators are permitted, but each person under 18 may be accompanied by one parent or guardian.
- Team sports must not be practised or played except for training (no games or scrimmage).
- See the full list of restrictions here.
Public health units will stay in their new levels for a minimum of 28 days, or two COVID-19 incubation periods, at which time, the government will assess the impact of public health measures to determine if the public health unit should stay where they are or be moved to a different level. Simcoe Muskoka will remain in the red/control zone until at least January 8, 2021.
The Province also recommends that individuals and families in higher transmission areas avoid travel to lower transmission areas, except for essential reasons. That means that residents of Muskoka should avoid travel to neighbouring North Bay Parry Sound District, which is in the green/prevent zone, and and the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge region, which is in the yellow/protect zone.
Municipal leaders across Muskoka have expressed concern about being included in the same zone as Simcoe County, given the low local case numbers, a concern that has been relayed to the Province via SMDHU medical officer of health, Dr. Charles Gardner.
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