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City of Hamilton returns to the Red – Control category in the Province’s COVID-19 Response Framework

HAMILTON, ON – Earlier today, the provincial government announced that Hamilton will return to the Red – Control category under the Province’s COVID-19 Response Framework. This change will come into effect on Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 12 am.

The Red – Control category has stringent measures and restrictions across multiple sectors to help control the spread of COVID-19. These measures continue to be the most severe available before there are widescale business and organizational closures.

In Hamilton, the latest weekly rate of new cases per 100,000 population reported is 43. The average number of cases (7-day moving average) reported per day is 37. The percent positivity among tests is 2.0%.

Some key changes as Hamilton enters the Red – Control category include:

  • Limits for all organized public events and social gatherings are set at 5 people indoors and 25 people outdoors
  • Restaurants can reopen with capacity limits of 10 patrons seated indoors. Outdoor dining, take out, drive through and delivery are permitted. A limit of 4 people may be seated together, and face coverings are required except when eating or drinking.
  • Sports and recreational fitness facilities may reopen, with capacity limits of 10 people in indoor areas with weights and exercise machines, 10 people in all indoor classes, or 25 people in outdoor classes. Participants must maintain two metres of physical distancing at all times, and that spacing is increased to three metres in areas where there are weights or exercise equipment, and in exercise and fitness classes.
  • Retail establishments may reopen with capacity limits and health screening. Capacity limits must be posted publicly and are:
    • 75% for supermarkets and other stores that primarily sell groceries, convenience stores, pharmacies
    • 50% for all other retail, including discount and big box retailers, liquor stores, hardware stores and garden centres
  • Most personal care services may reopen
  • More information on other changes in the Red – Control category can be found here: COVID-19 Response Framework

Moving into the Red – Control category has a number of impacts to City facilities and services as well. These include:

  • Beginning Wednesday, February 17, a number of City services can be accessed in-person by appointment only. Residents can make an appointment by calling 905 546 (CITY). This includes:
    • Services at City Hall, including the Planning & Economic Development and Hamilton Business Centre service counters
    • Services at the Municipal Service Centres
    • The Provincial Offences Administration Office
    • Animal Services
    • Licensing counters
    • Residents are encouraged to access municipal services online where available: 
      • IMPORTANT: Property owners who don’t pay their property taxes through a monthly payment plan or through a mortgage company are required to pay the first installment of their 2021 property tax by February 26, 2021. Options to pay property taxes:
        • Pre-authorized debit payment plans
        • At a bank
        • By mail
        • By telephone or online banking
        • In person at City Hall or Municipal Service Centres – Appointment is required.
        • Residents can call 905 546 CITY (2489) or visit for more information.
    • Some City services remain unavailable at this time, including municipal marriage ceremonies.
  • Select Hamilton Civic Museums will reopen by appointment in early March
  • The Gage Park Tropical Greenhouse will reopen on a limited schedule, open to limited visitors on Friday, Saturday and Sundays only, beginning Friday, February 19.  
  • In addition to the ongoing outdoor recreation programs already running at this time, a number of recreation programs will be available for residents to access in person, including:
    • Winter Golf and Disc Golf will be available at Chedoke Golf Course beginning February 16. Disc lending will be available February 20.
    • Indoor arenas will be available for ice rental. Some will be available as of February 22 with additional arenas becoming available on March 1 if there is enough demand.
    • Indoor pools will be available for open swim and lengths swim in a phased reopening approach beginning in early March, with additional pools reopening later in March. Visit for details.
    • Open gym programming will reopen on in mid-March for groups of 10 or less.
    • Seniors Services will reopen for small group reservations in mid-March for groups of 10 or less.
    • Please note that access to recreation programs will be restricted to residents of the City of Hamilton and Hamilton-based organizations or sports clubs.

Locally, the Reopening Ontario Act will continue to be assertively enforced by the City’s Municipal Law Enforcement, COVID Enforcement Team. As the city enters the Red – Control category, the COVID Enforcement team will be responding to complaints as well as proactively enforcing all of the applicable regulations throughout the City.

In addition to the Framework guidance, members of the public are advised of the following:

It is vital that members of the public, even those who have been vaccinated, ensure that public health measures still be practiced until it is safe and said to be safe by the health professionals in all levels of government. Public health measures include:

  • Stay home if you are feeling unwell.
  • If you have any COVID-19 symptoms or are not feeling well, stay isolated at home and get tested for COVID-19.
  • Restrict close contacts to your household members only and essential supports. Those that live alone may join with another household for support.
  • Maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or 2 meters from others outside of your immediate household.
  • Wash hands frequently.
  • Wear a mask or face covering when around others from another household, out in public places, or outdoors when unable to stay physically distant.

All in-person activities outside of the home should be limited to essential activities only, this includes work, school, fitness and exercise, access to healthcare, and the purchase of food or drink, gasoline, and automobile maintenance.

“Hamilton’s move into the red category of the provincial reopening framework is welcome, but we must not let down our guard. It is still up to each of us individually and across all sectors to do our part to continue to help slow the spread of this virus. While we are no longer under the stay-at-home order, we must continue to follow all public health and safety measures in order to protect the health and well-being of everyone in our community. The majority of residents have been following all public health recommendations but we must continue take the necessary steps required to protect our hospitals, long-term care and retirement homes, and every person in this city.”

– Mayor Fred Eisenberger

“While we’re beginning to see some reopenings in our community and this is positive news for all of us, here at the City we will continue taking a cautious approach to reopening our municipal services and facilities to ensure the safety of our employees and the community. Please have patience with our staff and continue to follow the public health measures as stringently as you can so we are able to take positive steps forward in our pandemic response efforts.”
– Paul Johnson, Emergency Operations Centre Director

“Hamilton Public Health Services is very concerned about the circulation of the new COVID-19 variants in our community, and know it is just a matter of time until one is confirmed here. We are working hard to fight COVID-19 by administering as many doses of the COVD-19 vaccine to as many residents as possible, and we need the help of the community more than ever. We must move forward into the Red Category mindfully. It is vital that in order to stop a third wave of this virus, all members of the community continue to stay at home, avoid social gatherings, limit close contacts to your household, and only travel between regions if it is essential. We still have many critical milestones to reach before we are through this pandemic. Together, we will get through this.”

– Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, Medical Officer of Health


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