On March 5, Premier Doug Ford announced that Peel (Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon), Toronto and North Bay-Parry Sound will exit the current stay-at-home order and return to the province’s colour-coded COVID-19 framework on Monday, March 8.
The province says Toronto and Peel will be entering the grey/lockdown category due to high case counts.
The announcement comes days after both medical officers of health in Toronto and Peel asked for their cities/regions to be placed in lockdown, citing concerns over high case counts, variant growth and at-risk hospitals.
The province said all decisions were made in consultation with the local medical officers of health and are based on the latest trends in public health indicators and local context and conditions.
“Our government is taking a safe and cautious approach to returning to the framework and due to our progress, all regions of the province will soon be out of the provincewide shutdown,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, in a statement.
“Despite this positive step forward, a return to the framework is not a return to normal. As we continue vaccinating more Ontarians, it remains critical for everyone to continue to follow public health measures and stay home as much as possible to protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities.”
Under the grey/lockdown category, non-essential and small retailers are permitted to reopen at 25 per cent capacity. Residents are not permitted to gather indoors with anyone they do not live with (although people who live alone and single-parent families are permitted to join one other household) and outdoor gatherings of more than 10 people are not permitted.
Restaurants are still restricted to take-out and delivery only and gyms, movie theatres and other indoor businesses deemed non-essential (except for retail) are not permitted to open.
“While all regions have returned to the framework, everyone must remain vigilant to help prevent any further increases in transmission,” said Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health, in a statement.
“The best defense against the virus and all of its variants of concern remains continuing to stay at home, avoiding social gatherings, only travelling outside of your community for essential purposes, and limiting close contacts to your household or those you live with.”
Cover photo courtesy of The Canadian Press