Hamilton is enforcing stricter measures in malls, retail stores and workplaces to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus as cases continue to rise.

The additional measures come into effect for retail outlets as of Saturday and will apply to shopping malls, retail businesses and workplaces on Monday.

Some of the additional measures include:

  • reducing capacity and limits at shopping malls and retail establishments
  • active screening at workplaces, shopping malls and retail businesses
  • posting capacity limits based on physical distancing requirements
  • appointing a manager to develop, implement and actively monitor a Safety Plan in workplaces, shopping malls and retail businesses

The City of Hamilton said the enhanced restrictions were needed as the city continues to see cases and outbreaks “rise at a concerning rate.”

Hamilton’s latest weekly rate of new cases per 100,000 residents is 79.7 and the seven-day moving average is 67. Meanwhile, the city’s positivity rate is 3.2 per cent.

On Friday, Hamilton logged 43 new COVID-19 cases, down from 56 on Thursday.

Mayor Fred Eisenberger said the stricter rules were a “necessary measure” to protect the health and safety of the community.

“This was a tough decision as a majority of residents have been following all public health recommendations, but we must take the steps required to protect our hospitals, long-term care and retirement homes, and every person in this city,” Eisenberger said in a statement.

Hamilton’s medical officer of health, Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, said the increase of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 is also a concern.

“Hamilton is seeing our hospitals overcapacity, we are seeing residents not being able to acquire necessary healthcare and we are seeing outbreaks impacting the community in high numbers. I understand that implementing additional measures adds pressure to our local business owners and residents, I hope that during this critical time the proper public measures are followed in order to gain better control of the rise in cases of COVID-19 locally,” Richardson said in a statement.

Hamilton is currently in the red “control” level of the province’s five-tiered, colour-coded COVID-19 response framework, a level above the grey “lockdown” zone where Toronto and Peel Region have been since Nov. 23.

Under the “control” level, capacity limits are capped at 10 people indoors for restaurants, bars, gyms and casinos, while cinemas must close their doors, among other restrictions.