Waterloo region stuck in Step 1

Region of Waterloo logo, from: regionofwaterloo.ca

Waterloo region is the only region in Ontario that is still in Step 1 of the provincial government’s reopening plan due to it being a hotspot for the Delta variant. 

In a Board of Health meeting on July 6, Waterloo region’s medical officer of health, Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang said more news will be shared later this week, although no definitive decisions were made. Although the daily case rates have dropped, Dr. Wang said Waterloo’s COVID-19 outlook remains in a “precarious” situation. 

Citing these extended restrictions as ways the region can open up efficiently and safely, Wang said in a previous announcement that the region is likely to stay in Step 1 until mid-July. “This approach gives us the best chance to hold onto the gains we have made,” Wang said. Moreover, this delay will give Waterloo region more time to roll out vaccinations. 

In a statement on June 24, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said, “The province is doing everything possible to support the Waterloo region at this time, and have allocated over 44,000 additional vaccines to the region.” This support is best represented by the new pop-up vaccination clinic sponsored by the province and run by the Canadian Red Cross that opened at 99 Regina St. in Waterloo last week where 500 doses were provided each day. 

Waterloo residents are urged not to travel to other regions that are already in Step 2. “If you care about your family don’t go see them in the neighbouring areas. We have Delta here and we want to make sure they don’t go to those areas to the same extent” said Lee Fairclough, the president of St. Mary’s Hospital.

Small business owners in Waterloo region are still waiting for the day they can open their doors and enter into Step 2 of Ontario’s reopening plan. Officials encourage residents to support local businesses by shopping in stores in the region instead of travelling to other communities.