Thunder Bay – COVID-19 Update – The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has been impacting our lives through much of 2020. The holiday season, Christmas, and New Years are now facing, in many jurisdictions serious restrictions.
In Montreal and Quebec as well as Toronto, Winnipeg, Peel Region, and Alberta there are growing restrictions.
In Europe, there are more restrictions. Italy, France and England are imposing strict new restrictions.
Italy which has seen 68.000 people die from the virus has enacted extremely strict lockdown restrictions.
Globally, what are those COVID-19 Restriction?
Prime Minister Boris Johnson states that Christmas gatherings can’t go ahead and non-essential shops must close in London. The same status is being implemented in much of southern England. Johnson is imposing new, higher level of COVID-19 restrictions on the region to curb rapidly spreading infections.
Johnson says that London, the capital, along with other areas in southern England currently under Tier 3, the highest level of coronavirus restrictions, will move to an even stricter new Tier 4 that requires non-essential shops, hairdressers and indoor leisure venues to close after the end of business hours on Saturday, December 19, 2020.
Tier 4 Restrictions for South and East England
Starting from midnight on Sunday, December 20, 2020, tier four restrictions will apply in all tier three areas across the south and east of England.
In south-east England, the areas affected are:
- Greater London (all 32 boroughs and the City of London)
- Buckinghamshire (including Milton Keynes)
- Surrey (excluding Waverley)
- Gosport, Havant, Portsmouth
- Rother and Hastings
In the east of England, the areas affected are:
- Essex (excluding Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring)
A stay at home order will be issued to residents – although those who have to travel for education or work may continue to do so.
Social mixing will be restricted to meeting one other person from outside your household in an open public space.
All non-essential retail will have to close, along with hairdressers, nail bars, and indoor entertainment venues.
Support bubbles remain unaffected, as do the exemptions for separated parents and their children.
No-one in tier four will be allowed to join Christmas Day bubbles in tiers one to three.
The measures will be formally reviewed on December, 30, 2020.
- Starting December 21, 2020, until January 6, 2021 it is forbidden, within the national territory, to move in and out between the territories of different Regions or Autonomous Provinces.
- On December 25 and 26, 2020 and January 1st, 2021 it will also be forbidden to move between municipalities. This is without prejudice to movements motivated by proven work needs or situations of need, or health reasons.
- It is always permitted to return to your own residence, domicile or dwelling with the exclusion of trips to holiday/second homes located in another Region or Autonomous Province. On December 25 and 26, 2020 and January 1st, 2021, it will also not be possible to reach any holiday/second home located in another Municipality;
- The curfew from 10pm to 5am is confirmed. On New Year’s Eve it will be extended until 7am, January 1st, 2021;
- Italians going abroad for tourism from December 21, to January 6, must undergo a mandatory quarantine upon their return. Foreign tourists arriving in Italy during the same period will also have to undergo a mandatory quarantine.
- Until 6 January 2021, retail business will be permitted until 9 p.m. On holidays and pre-holidays days, all stores located in markets and shopping centres, shopping malls, shopping parks, business combinations and other similar structures will be closed, with the exception of pharmacies, para-pharmacies, health centres, food shops, agricultural and floricultural products, tobacconists and newsagents;
- From 6 p.m. on December 31, 2020 until 7 a.m. on January 1st, 2020, any catering service in hotels and other accommodation facilities will only be permitted through room service.
Teaching and educational activities and services for children continues to be carried out fully in-presence in pre-schools and all primary schools/ first cycle of education.
From January 7, 2021, for secondary schools, in-presence teaching activities must be guaranteed to the 75% of the student population.
Skiing facilities for amateur skiers are closed. From January 7, 2021, the facilities will be open to amateur skiers, only after the adoption of specific guidelines by the Conference of Regions and Autonomous Provinces. Such guidelines will have to be validated by the Scientific Technical Committee, with the aim of avoiding assemblies of people and groups in general.
France has enacted severe COVID-19 Restrictions.
A nightly curfew is currently in force in metropolitan France. Between 8PM and 6AM you may only leave your residence for the following reasons and with an exemption certificate:
- Commuting to and from work, school or training place; carrying out essential business trips that cannot be postponed;
- Medical appointments that cannot be carried out remotely or postponed;
- Essential family reasons, assisting vulnerable persons, persons in a precarious situation or taking care of children;
- Persons with a disability and their accompanying person;
- Judicial or administrative summons;
- Participating in a mission of general interest upon request from an administrative authority;
- Air or rail transit related to long distance journeys;
- Walking a pet outdoors within 1km of one’s place of residence and for a brief amount of time.
French shops and services, including public libraries, are now open. However, as of December 19, 2020, bars, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, museums and gyms remain closed. Public services remain open. Places of worship may open.
In France you must wear a mask in all venues.
In Finland, although the COVID-19 numbers have been increasing, the government says that “Christmas is coming, but this time the December celebrations from Independence Day to New Year should be planned as safe as possible well in advance”.
“The time spent with loved ones at Christmas is important, and like any other year, we do not recommend spending Christmas alone. This year, however, it is advisable to celebrate only with those closest to you and use creativity in meeting others. For the elderly, it is important to follow their wishes for Christmas”, says Mika Salminen, Director of the National Institute for Health and Welfare.