Niagara will once again enforce 'household only dining' when restaurants reopen for indoor eating


Niagara Region Public Health is putting some new rules into place for businesses to keep COVID-19 cases low.

When indoor dining is allowed to resume in Niagara, only members of the same household will be allowed to dine together.

There is an exemption once again for caregivers, and essential contacts.

The rules apply to restaurants, bars, wineries, breweries, and other food and beverage service operators.

Niagara is currently in the grey zone of Ontario's reopening framework, which does not allow for indoor dining.

If Niagara moves to the red zone, 10 people will be allowed to dine, while the orange zone allows for 50.

Both zones only allow four people to be seated at a table.

Ontario has said regions will remain in their designated zones for at least two weeks, meaning Niagara may be eligible to move to another level next Friday, Feb. 26th.

"Research continues to build that in-person dining is inherently risky given it involves close interaction over a lengthy period of time without masks. It should be emphasized that this risk is inherent in the activity, and of no fault of owners/operators. After this measure was first instituted in November, Niagara saw a sharp reduction in infections related to public dining. This requirement strikes a balance between reducing risk of COVID-19 while allowing in-person dining to safely resume once permitted. "

 When it comes to shopping, Niagara will follow suit with rules in Hamilton and Halton, that require retail stores to actively monitor and manage compliance with physical distancing and masking requirements within those businesses, as well as in line-ups outside these locations.

These actions take effect Monday, Feb. 22, 2021.