Toronto will be under the stay-at-home order until Feb. 22
The Ontario government will be moving to a regional reopening approach and maintaining the stay-at-home order in the majority of public health regions across the province, according to a statement issued Monday.
In the statement, Premier Doug Ford said that when it is safe to do so, the Ontario government will transition each region from shutdown measures to a zone in the COVID-19 response framework. This decision was made in consultation with Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams.
“Our number one priority will always be protecting the health and safety of all individuals, families and workers across the province,” said Ford. “But we must also consider the severe impact COVID-19 is having on our businesses. That’s why we have been listening to business owners, and we are strengthening and adjusting the framework to allow more businesses to safely reopen and get people back to work.”
The Ontario government has updated the framework to have a safer approach to non-essential retail businesses. Limited in-person shopping in grey lockdown zones will be permitted with public health and safety measures, such as limiting capacity to 25 per cent in most regions. People will be required to wear masks and physical distance when inside a business.
Other measures that will be enacted include requiring people to wear a mask when attending an organized public event or gathering if they are within two metres of another individual not from their household.
The stay-at-home order will continue to apply in 28 regions until Feb. 16. It will apply for Toronto, Peel Region and York Region until Feb. 22.
Three regions will be moved to the green zone and not have to abide by the stay-at-home order, due to low case counts, on Wednesday. These areas include Hastings Prince Edward Public Health, Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health and Renfrew County and District Health Unit.
Ontario will be implementing an “emergency brake” to allow for immediate action if a region experiences rapid acceleration of COVID-19 transmission or if their health care system becomes overwhelmed. Williams will consult with the local medical officer of health to move a region into grey lockdown, in order to interrupt transmission.
“While we are seeing our numbers trend in the right direction, our situation remains precarious as the variants of concern remain a serious risk,” said Williams. “This is not a re-opening or a ‘return to normal’ and we must continue to limit close contact to our immediate households and stay at home except for essential reasons.”
The state of emergency will terminate on Feb. 9. While the stay-at-home order will cease to apply in some regions as of Feb. 10, people are advised to continue to stay at home, avoid social gatherings, minimize travel between various regions and limit close contacts to their households.
Williams will continue to consult with public health and other experts, review data and provide advice to the provincial government on the measures needed to protect people’s health. Municipalities and local medical officers of health may implement further requirements in their region.