TORONTO — The Ontario government has transitioned 27 public-health regions out of the shutdown and into a revised and strengthened COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open.
The four remaining public-health regions — Toronto Public Health, Peel Public Health, York Region Public Health and North Bay Parry Sound District — will remain under the shutdown and Stay-at-Home order, as well as all existing public-health and workplace-safety measures. These measures will continue to apply until at least February 22.
After returning to the framework, public health regions will stay in their level for at least two weeks. Regions will move up through the levels, if necessary, based on the set indicators and thresholds outlined in the updated framework.
Earlier this month, three regions were moved to the framework at the Green-Prevent level.
Recognizing the risk posed by new variants to the province’s pandemic response, Ontario is introducing an ‘emergency brake’ to allow the Chief Medical Officer of Health, in consultation with the local medical officer of health, to immediately advise moving a region into Grey-Lockdown to interrupt transmission. Local medical officers of health also have the ability to issue Section 22 orders under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, to target specific transmission risks in the community.
“While the trends in public-health indicators are heading in the right direction, we still have work to do,” says Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health. “Everyone is strongly advised to continue staying at home, avoid social gatherings, only travel between regions for essential purposes and limit close contacts to your household or those you live with.”
Under the updated framework, in Grey-Lockdown regions, foodservice establishments are restricted to takeout, drive-thru and delivery service.
Under Red-Control restrictions indoor capacity is limited to 10 people, with a maximum of four people per table. Buffets, dancing, singing and live music are prohibited. Operating hours must end at 10 p.m. and alcohol service must end at 9 p.m. In Orange-Restrict zones, restaurant/bar indoor capacity is limited to 50 people and buffets are prohibited. Operating/service hours remain the same as under Red-Control restrictions.
In regions under Yellow-Protect restrictions, tables are restricted to a maximum of six people, buffets are prohibited and operating hours are extended to midnight, with alcohol service ending at 11 p.m. And, in Green-Prevent zones, hours and table capacities aren’t restricted, but buffets remain prohibited.
In all regions allowing indoor dining, tables must be at least two metres apart, face coverings must be worn except when eating or drinking and contact information must be collected.
A complete list of Ontario public-health regions and their current level in the framework, as well as the measures in place under each level, is available at covid-19.ontario.ca.