The province is moving certain public health unit regions to new levels in the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework, which includes moving Toronto and Peel into Lockdown.
These necessary measures are being taken to limit community transmission of COVID-19 in order to keep schools open, safeguard health system capacity, and protect the province’s most vulnerable populations.
“With the numbers rising rapidly in certain regions, we have to make the tough, but necessary decisions now to protect our hospitals, long-term care and retirement homes, and every person in this province,” Premier Doug Ford said. “We cannot afford a province-wide lockdown, so we are taking preventative action today by moving Toronto and Peel into Lockdown level restrictions and other regions into higher levels of restrictions. We need to take decisive action to stop the spread of this deadly virus.”
Over the past week, some regions under the Red-Control level have continued to see worsening trends in key indicators, despite having a range of public health measures and restrictions in place since early October. Based on the latest data, the government intends to move Peel Public Health and Toronto Public Health into Lockdown effective Monday, November 23, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. This action is being taken to help stop the spread of COVID-19, while prioritizing the continued opening of schools, child care centres and other key services to the fullest extent possible.
Measures under Lockdown include, but are not limited to:
- Schools, before and after school programs, and child care will remain open;
- Post-secondary schools open for virtual learning with some limited exceptions for training that can only be provided in-person, such as clinical training or training related to a trade;
- No indoor organized public events or social gatherings except with members of the same household. Individuals who live alone, including seniors, may consider having exclusive, close contact with one other person;
- Outdoor organized public events or social gatherings limited to a maximum of 10 people;
- Wedding services, funeral services and religious services, rites or ceremonies where physical distancing can be maintained can have up to 10 people indoors or 10 people outdoors;
- Retail permitted to be open for curbside pick-up or delivery only, with certain exceptions such as for supermarkets, grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores, discount and big box retailers selling groceries, beer, wine and liquor stores, safety supply stores, and convenience stores, which will be allowed to operate at 50 per cent capacity;
- Restaurants, bars, and food and drink establishments will only be able to provide takeout, drive-through and delivery. Indoor and outdoor dining services are prohibited;
- Personal care services closed;
- Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments closed; and
- Indoor sports and recreational facilities, including pools, closed with limited exceptions.
The Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will continue to provide advice to the government using criteria, including: epidemiological indicators such as the number and rate of COVID-19 cases and test positivity; health system capacity indicators including hospital and Intensive Care Unit capacity, access to ventilators and ongoing availability of personal protective equipment; public health sector capacity, including the number of COVID-19 cases and contacts being reached by local public health officials within one day; and ongoing testing of suspected COVID-19 cases, especially of vulnerable populations, to detect new outbreaks quickly.
“As public health indicators continue to worsen in regions across the province, particularly in hotspots like Peel and Toronto, it is clear that more needs to be done to limit community spread of COVID-19,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said. “As we have seen around the world, lockdowns are a difficult but necessary step to stop the spread, safeguard the key services we rely on and protect our health system capacity. With the recent positive news on the development of a vaccine, there is a real hope that we can defeat this deadly virus, but for now we all must continue to follow public health advice and strictly adhere to the restrictions in place.”‘
York Region, Halton and Hamilton moved to the Red Zone on November 16 and Durham and Waterloo move to the Red zone on November 23. The social gatherings limit for the Red Zone areas has been reduced to five people indoors.
Find out what level and which regional public measures are in place for your area.