Despite the wishes of local mayors for broader re-openings, Mississauga and Brampton will likely be moved into the restrictive grey lockdown zone if the provincial stay-at-home order is lifted next week.
Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie and Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown had been hopeful Peel Region would move into the red control zone which allows for more store openings and public activities.
However, Peel’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Lawrence Loh, said today that health data doesn’t support the broader opening and the grey zone is likely where we are headed.
If we move into the grey zone under the provincial government’s colour coded COVID framework, it means Peel Region residents and businesses must adhere to many of the rules that are currently in place.
Under the grey zone restaurants will only be open for takeout and delivery, no indoor social gatherings except for members of the same household, and a maximum of 10 people for outdoor events. As well, gyms, personal care services and meeting places will remain closed.
Further, grey means supermarkets, pharmacies, and convenience stores will run at 50 percent capacity, while other retailers such as discount and big box retailers, liquor stores, hardware stores and garden centres can operate at 25 per cent capacity.
Crombie said she was disappointed with the news as she and Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown had been asking public health officials to be moved into the less restrictive red control zone.
However, Crombie said the latest epidemiology reports don’t warrant broader openings.
“I just received the recent epidemiology report and I have to say that it is not promising,” said Crombie adding that COVID-19 case counts are up over the previous week and the ability for the virus to spread has also increased as had the testing positivity rate. “Those are not good things.”
But it is the increasing presence of the highly transmissible COVID variants — the UK and South African strains — that is causing the lockdown to continue.
Crombie said the variants have Peel health officials worried and could even prompt them to recommend that the stay-at-home order remains. “But I am hopeful that we move into grey,” she said.