Niagara Region easing restrictions on outdoor dining

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Published June 25, 2021 at 5:59 pm

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The “family only” policy for Niagara Region’s outdoor restaurant patio dining is easing up.

As of June 24, the Region stated that tables on patios would shift from the four persons per household rule and they no longer have to be occupied by immediate family members.

The threshold is still not wide-open, however

“More than four patrons can be seated at a table only if any of the following apply: all patrons are members of the same household; one patron is a member of another household who lives alone and if a patron is a caregiver for any member of either household,” a Regional release says. 

With daily COVID-19 cases declining by more than 60 per cent in the last two weeks, Niagara is still preaching caution, pointing out the rapid decline has not been the case for many other regions in Ontario.

“We can see in communities like Waterloo and Timmins, that progress is fragile. In the United Kingdom, despite high vaccination coverage, they are entering a new wave of infections fueled by the Delta variant. It remains important for everyone to continue to practising behaviours to help stop the spread of COVID-19, help keep our community safe and keep transmission rates low during this time.”

It added that local restaurants, bars, wineries, breweries and other food and beverage service operators will still be required to follow other restrictions, which include asking if diners have any symptoms of illness and recording information such as name and contact information.

Dr. Mustafa Hirji, the Region’s Acting Medical Officer of Health, said, “Thanks to ongoing vigilance against COVID-19, cases continue to decline in Niagara allowing our businesses to continue to recover.”

However, Hirji cautioned that “other communities show us that this progress isn’t guaranteed.”

“We (still) need ongoing vigilance around keeping distance, wearing masks, and limiting in-person social interactions until we have the vast majority of our population vaccinated with two doses,” he said. 

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