Photo By: Lisa Luminaire from Unsplash

As the Omicron variant of COVID-19 threatens to overburden the healthcare system, some city facilities have been closed in accordance with Ontario’s new regulations.

In response to the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases, the province moved to an updated step two of its Roadmap to Reopen plan on Jan. 5. These restrictions are intended to curb the spread of the Omicron strain as the number of cases grows and threatens to overwhelm healthcare capacity.

Among these measures are:

  • Limiting social gatherings to five persons indoors and ten outdoors.
  • Limiting indoor capacity at scheduled public events to five individuals.
  • Requiring businesses to ensure that all employees work remotely unless their job necessitates them to be in-person.
  • With few exceptions, indoor meeting and event spaces will be closed.
  • Public libraries are now limited to operating at 50 per cent capacity.
  • The closure of indoor dining areas in restaurants, bars, and other similar businesses that serve food and drink.
  • The closure of indoor sports and recreational facilities, such as gyms.
  • Until at least Jan. 17, all publicly funded and private schools have switched to remote learning.

Several City facilities have now closed in accordance with these restrictions and will stay closed until further notice, including:

  • City Hall is now closed to the public, remote service delivery continues.
  • The St. Catharines Museum and the Welland Canals Centre is now closed to the public.
  • St. Catharines’ Farmers Market remains open Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., with improved safety precautions, reduced capacity, more facility monitors onsite to manage lines and a continued mask mandate.
  • Arenas are closed to the public.
  • Russell Avenue and Port Weller Community Centres are closed to the public.
  • Older adult centres are closed.
  • The St. Catharines Kiwanis Aquatics Centre is closed to the public.
  • In-person recreational and senior adult programming has been canceled. The city will however continue to provide virtual programming. 

The provincial restrictions have also affected how Brock has started this semester and what will be accessible on-campus. Most classes have restarted via online delivery, with on-campus delivery tentatively set to resume on Jan. 31. 

While the university will remain open during this time, most spaces have capacity limits, dining services are only open for takeout, and staff who are not required to be on campus for their work are currently required to work remotely.

Residents and students in the city are asked to continue to follow the public health guidelines that have been put in place during the pandemic to be safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Hand washing and sanitising frequently, limiting contact to household members and essential supports, wearing a mask or face covering when around others from another household, out in public places, or outdoors when physical distancing is not possible, and getting your vaccination, including booster shots when available, remain effective ways of limiting virus exposure.

For a full list of the regulations that the province has now implemented, individuals can view the official document here. To find out more about how St. Catharines’ facilities and services have changed as a result of this surge in COVID-19 cases, visit the city’s website.