New rules for dining out in Niagara take effect Saturday

Niagara Region is making changes at bars, restaurants and wineries effective Saturday.

The region will now require staff to collect more information from customers over the age of 16 who enter an indoor or outdoor dining area.

That information includes name, contact information and time of arrival and departure.

These records must be kept for at least a month. People who don’t provide this information cannot be served.

Customers will be limited to a maximum of six people per table and they must either all be from the same household or caregivers or social supports to someone who lives alone.

Patrons will also be asked if they have any symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, new or worsening cough, sore throat or runny nose.

The changes come into effect 12:01 a.m. Saturday and also include banquet halls and breweries.

The order was issued under section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act.

The region says people socializing in places like bars and restaurants have been associated with “significant spread” of COVID-19 in Niagara.

We know the past eight months have been challenging in how we have had to adjust our personal lives. However, our personal actions are the biggest determinant of COVID-19 spread,” said Dr. Mustafa Hirji, acting medical officer of health for the region.

“Our choices of how we interact socially with others will determine if we control COVID-19 and save lives, or if we will allow COVID-19 to spread further and necessitate more provincially-imposed restrictions on our social lives and economy.”