Toronto is officially moving into the Grey Zone early next week as the Stay at Home orders are lifted on March 8.
On Wednesday, Toronto’s top doctor recommended that the city move into the Grey Zone, which allows retail to reopen at 25% capacity.
And on Friday, the province confirmed the move back into Ontario’s reopening framework.
“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.
“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.”
Based on a general improvement in trends of key indicators, the province said Toronto Public Health and Peel Public Health would return to the framework at the Grey-Lockdown level.
With different regions changing their colour-coded designation on a weekly basis, it can be confusing trying to understand what one can and can’t do.
According to the City of Toronto, while the Grey Zone is still a lockdown, there will be a loosening of some restrictions.
The city and province emphasize that individuals should stay at home as much as possible.
There can be no indoor organized public events and social gatherings, except with members of the same household and one person who lives alone.
Also, one should not travel to other regions unless “absolutely necessary.”
For outdoor gatherings, there is a 10-person limit for organized public events and social gatherings where physical distancing can be maintained.
In the Grey Zone, retail is allowed to reopen. For supermarkets and pharmacies, capacity will stay the same at 50%. For all other retail, including discount and big-box retailers, liquor stores, hardware stores and garden centres, capacity will be 25%.
“Stores must have signs posted requiring patrons to self-screen. If you do not pass the self-screen, you should not enter,” the guidelines note.
Shopping malls can open with restrictions: retail stores within malls can have a limit of 25% capacity, individuals must physically distance and wear a face covering, indoor dining spaces must be closed, including tables and seating in food courts, and people should not linger in shopping malls and stores within the malls.
For dining, the rules remain the same from the Stay at Home orders. In the Grey Zone, indoor and outdoor dining service is prohibited. But, takeout, drive-thru, and delivery, including alcohol, are allowed.
Personal Care Services
Personal care services such as hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, tanning studios, tattoo parlours and other cosmetic services are not allowed to operate.
But healthcare appointments with regulated health professionals for services like physiotherapy and massage therapy are permitted.
The guidelines say that more amenities can open but are subject to conditions, like golf courses.
It also looks like day camps can resume.
However, team sports are not permitted, with limited exceptions. Sports and recreational fitness facilities will remain closed, with limited exceptions such as use by professional and high-performing athletes and access to physical therapy for individuals with a disability as defined by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
When it comes to religious services, there is a 10-person limit for indoor or outdoor religious services, rites or ceremonies, including wedding and funeral services, where physical distancing can be maintained. But any indoor gathering associated with the religious event can’t take place.
Virtual and drive-in events and religious services, rites or ceremonies are allowed.
For anyone interested in library services, libraries are open, but use is limited to computers and contactless pick-up. Books and other circulating materials must be reserved over the phone or online for pick-up.
For any pet owners, you’ll be happy to know that vet services are permitted again and pet sitting, walking, grooming, and training services are allowed.