New COVID-19 measures take effect in nine Ontario regions, two move into lockdown

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New public health measures meant to limit the spread of COVID-19 went into effect across nine Ontario regions today, including two that are heading into lockdown due to rising case counts.

The Thunder Bay and Simcoe-Muskoka health units have seen infections rising in recent days, driven in part by transmission of more infectious variants of the virus.

The province activated what it describes as an ``emergency break'' for those districts, moving them to the grey tier of Ontario's colour-coded pandemic response plan.

The move will impose a variety of more stringent public health measures in those regions, including capping most indoor gatherings at 10 people, closing restaurants to in-person service and forcing non-essential retailers to operate at 25-per-cent capacity.

Seven other public health units will be easing restrictions as they move down a level in the provincial framework.

The Niagara Region is now classified as red, the Chatham-Kent, Middlesex-London and Southwestern units all move to the orange tier, Haldimand-Norfolk and Huron Perth transition to the yellow level, and Grey Bruce will become a green zone with the least restrictive measures in place.