At a Nov. 6 press conference, Premier Doug Ford announced that the Region of Peel (Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon) will move into the “Red-Control” category on Saturday, Nov. 7.
The announcement came after media reports indicated that Peel’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Lawrence Loh, called for the region to remain in modified Stage 2 for at least another week.
The province recently told Toronto that it can remain in “Stage 2 lite” until at least Nov. 14.
Under the red-alert category, Peel restaurants and gyms can begin serving customers indoors, but with strict limits.
At the press conference, Ford said that the region is averaging 103 cases per 100,000 and that the case positivity rate has hit 11 per cent in Brampton and 7 per cent in the region overall (10 per cent is considered dangerous). Ford also said that hospital capacity is under pressure in Peel.
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Health Minister Christine Elliott told reporters that the province is aiming for a case positivity rate of 2.5 per cent.
In Red-level areas, public health can implement broader-scale measures and restrictions across multiple sectors to control transmission These restrictions are the most severe available before widescale business or organizational closure (otherwise known as lockdown).
Once Peel enters the “red zone,” restaurants will not be permitted to allow more than 10 people inside their dining rooms. Outdoor dining, takeout, drive-through and delivery will still be permitted under the new rules.
Dancing, singing and the use of brass or wind instruments in restaurants are prohibited.
As far as gyms and fitness studios go, fitness classes are not permitted and facilities can only have a maximum of 10 patrons. Up to 25 people can participate in outdoor fitness classes.
At the press conference, Ford urged residents in Brampton to “hunker down” to try to stop virus transmission.
For long-term care homes, visitor restrictions will remain in effect for Ottawa, Peel, Toronto, and York Region.
“COVID-19 will be with us for a while, which is why we have put in place a framework that introduces more public health measures sooner to limit transmission of COVID-19 in our communities while avoiding broader closures,” Elliott said in a statement.
“We are committed to being transparent with Ontarians, businesses and local communities as we work together to keep Ontarians safe, while keeping our economy open.”
Loh, who has raised the alarm about the forthcoming reopening of gyms and indoor dining rooms, has suggested that the region explore ways to ban all private social gatherings indefinitely.
It is not yet clear if Peel will enact such restrictions or, if it does, how the region will enforce them.