UPDATE, 02/12: Added comments from the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPR)

Restaurants and non-essential businesses will be welcoming back customers on Tuesday.

Ontario officials have announced the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit will be at the Orange-Restrict level when the provincial stay-at-home order is lifted.

HKPR officials note that before all of Ontario went into lockdown, its medical region was in the Yellow-Protect level.

That means essential stores like grocery stores will be allowed to open as normal, but screening will be required for anyone entering.

Organized events like at your home, in a backyard, or park are limited to 10 people indoors and 25 outside. For events held at places like staffed business facilities, it’s limited to 50 people inside and 100 outdoors.

Restaurants and bars are limited to 50 guests indoors and are allowed outdoor dining. Guests are limited to parties of four or less. All tables must have at least two meters between them. Contact information also needs to be taken when guests arrive. The establishments will have to be closed from 10 PM to 5 AM.

Gyms can open, but only 50 people are allowed inside at one time and three meters of distance is required in areas with exercise equipment. The regulations allow for 100 people outside. Screening is also required for anyone going to a fitness centre.

At personal care centres, all guests will be screened before entering and services requiring your mask to be off are prohibited.

Visitor restrictions will be in place at long-term care homes in public health regions that are in the Orange-Restrict level. Only one caregiver is allowed to visit a resident at one time. Examples of caregivers include family members or friends, privately hired caregivers, or paid companions. General visitors aren’t allowed to visit. Caregivers must also show that they have received a negative COVID-19 test in the past week and verbally attest to not having tested positive since then. They can also show a negative antigen test result from the day of the visit.

“While our legal obligation to limit travel and gatherings will end when the Stay-at-Home Order is lifted, we still have a moral obligation to continue doing all we can to stop the spread of COVID-19,” HKPR’s Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. Ian Gemmill said Friday. “I am pleading with people not to gather with others and to continue to stay home and only go out for essential reasons.”

The province has introduced an “emergency brake” for the reopening of all areas of the province. That brake will be pulled if the number of new COVID-19 cases starts to spike in any region, especially where a variant may be spreading.

The emergency brake will move an area from any level of the province’s framework into the Grey-Lockdown level to control the spread of the virus.

On Monday, Health Minister Christine Elliott said this is not a reopening or a return to normal, but rather an acknowledgment that steady progress is being made to flatten the curve of cases in Ontario.

On Thursday, Dr. Adalsteinn Brown of Ontario’s COVID-19 Advisory Table says cases and hospitalizations are going down, but a third wave and lockdown are a very serious threat right now because of the spread of the variants.

New modelling data shows the increased spread of the variant will likely result in another surge of cases in late February.

With files from Casey Kenny