Ontario's colour-coded system changes as province plans gradual reopening

Mar 5 2021, 12:25 pm

UPDATE 2: The province confirmed Toronto would be moving into the Grey Zone, along with Peel, as of Monday, March 8. Read about that here. And here’s what will be open in Toronto next week.

Update 1: As of March 1, more regions moved into Ontario’s new colour-coded framework. Find that story here.

This story was initially published in November but is updated to reflect changes effective as of March 5.

 

As the COVID-19 pandemic carries on, Ontario has updated its colour-coded reopening framework.

First released last fall, the framework outlines the rules, restrictions, and zones for every region throughout the province, based on how they are faring with the virus.

Each local medical officer of health can add on more restrictions if they deem necessary, making the system confusing to navigate.

The framework includes five different colour-coded zones: Green-Prevent, Yellow-Protect, Orange-Restrict, Red-Control, and Grey-Lockdown.

Regardless of which zone you live in, all Ontarians are asked to limit close contact to their immediate household.

Those in the red or grey zones should only leave their homes for essential purposes, such as work, school, grocery shopping, exercise, and medical appointments, the government says.

As well, those in zones with harsher restrictions should not visit other regions to shop or dine out.

 

What the colours mean (as of March 2021)

The Green Zone is the most open, with only the highest-risk operations remaining closed. The Yellow zone includes fines and enhanced targeted enforcement to limit further transmission of the virus. There are also public health measures for high-risk settings in place.

The Orange zone includes enhanced measures, restrictions, and enforcement while trying to avoid any unnecessary closures. The Red zone has broader-scale measures and restrictions across multiple sectors to forcefully control transmission.

The Grey zone is most similar to the mandated lockdown imposed at the beginning of the pandemic and includes wide-scale measures and restrictions, including closures, to stop transmission.

 

Rules in each zone (as of March 2021)

Green-Prevent

Organized public events and social gatherings are limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. Those held at staffed businesses and facilities are limited to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.

Religious services and ceremonies, including wedding and funeral services, are limited to 30% capacity of a room indoors and 100 people outdoors if held somewhere other than a private dwelling.

Indoor and outdoor dining is allowed, but patrons must stay seated and wear face coverings when not eating or drinking. Contact information is required for one person from each seated party.

Buffet-style service is prohibited, and nightclubs can only operate as a restaurant or bar. Dancing, singing, live music, and karaoke are permitted, with restrictions.

Where physical distancing can be maintained, sports and recreation facilities are limited to 50 people indoors or 100 people outdoors for classes, and 50 people indoors in areas with weights or exercise equipment. If operating under an approved safety plan, capacity limits are on a per-room basis.

Meeting and events spaces are limited to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors, as long as physical distancing is maintained.

Retail stores and personal care services are permitted to be open, except for oxygen bars, steam rooms, and saunas.

Casinos, bingo halls, and gaming establishments can operate with up to 50 people per facility. Gaming tables are prohibited.

Cinemas and performing arts facilities can be open with 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. With an approved safety plan, movie theatres can have 50 people per auditorium. Drive-in cinemas and performances are permitted.

 

Yellow-Protect

For indoor and outdoor dining, no more than six people may be seated together, and each patron must provide contact information.

Establishments must be closed from 12 am to 5 am. Liquor can only be served between 9 am and 11 pm, and can not be consumed between 12 am and 9 am. Music must be kept at a low volume.

Meeting and event spaces, casinos, bingo halls, gaming establishments, cinemas, and performing arts facilities are subject to the same operating hours and liquor rules as food and drink establishments.

Fitness classes are limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.

 

Orange-Restrict

Indoor dining is allowed with up to 50 people indoors, and up to four people can be seated together.

Establishments must be closed from 10 pm to 5 am. Liquor can only be sold or served between 9 am and 9 pm, and liquor can not be consumed between 10 pm and 9 am. Strip clubs can only operate as a bar or restaurant.

Meeting and event spaces, casinos, bingo halls, gaming establishments, cinemas, and performing arts facilities are subject to the same operating hours and liquor rules as food and drink establishments.

As well, no more than four people can be seated together in an event space.

Spectators are not permitted in sports and recreational facilities. As well, patrons can not be in a facility for more than 90 minutes unless engaging in a sport.

Sensory deprivation pods are closed with some exceptions, as are bathhouses and other adult venues. Services that require the removal of face coverings are prohibited.

 

Red-Control

All organized public events and social gatherings are limited to 5 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.

Indoor dining is allowed with up to 10 people indoors. Dancing, singing, and live music are prohibited.

Sports and recreational facilities can be open with 10 people in indoor areas where there are weights and exercise machines. Team sports are prohibited, except for training.

Meeting and event spaces are limited to 10 people indoors or 25 people outdoors.

Supermarkets and other stores that primarily sell groceries, convenience stores, and pharmacies are limited to 75% capacity. All other retail stores, including big box retailers and liquor stores, are limited to 50% capacity.

Casinos, bingo halls, and gaming establishments are limited to 10 people indoors or 25 people outdoors.

Cinemas are closed except for drive-throughs, and performing arts facilities are closed to spectators.

 

Grey-Lockdown

The province notes that measures for the Grey Zone are subject to change in the final regulation.

No indoor organized public events and social gatherings are allowed, except with members of the same household. Those who live alone can have close contact with one other household.

Where physical distancing can be maintained, outdoor organized public events and social gatherings are limited to 10 people.

Religious services and ceremonies are limited to 10 people indoors and 10 people outdoors if held somewhere other than a private dwelling. Drive-in events are permitted.

Indoor and outdoor dining is prohibited, although takeout, drive-throughs, and delivery are allowed.

Indoor or outdoor sports and recreational fitness activities are closed, but outdoor recreational amenities, including ice rinks and ski hills, are open with some restrictions.

Meeting and events spaces, personal care services, bathhouses, sex clubs, casinos, bingo halls, gaming establishments, amusement parks, water parks, zoos, aquariums, museums, and other cultural amenities are closed.

In-person shopping is permitted, but supermarkets, convenience stores, and pharmacies are limited to 50% capacity. All other retail stores are limited to 25% capacity.

Cannabis stores and libraries can be open for curbside pickup.

 

Which each region is in the framework

As of 12 am on Monday, March 8, here is where each public health unit in Ontario lies in the reopening framework:

Green-Prevent

  • Grey Bruce Health Unit
  • Hastings Prince Edward Public Health Unit
  • Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington Health Unit
  • Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

Yellow-Protect

  • Algoma Public Health
  • Huron Perth Public Health
  • Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit
  • Northwestern Health Unit
  • Renfrew County and District Health Unit

Orange-Restrict

  • Brant County Health Unit
  • Chatham-Kent Public Health
  • Eastern Ontario Health Unit
  • Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit0
  • Middlesex-London Health Unit
  • Ottawa Public Health
  • Porcupine Health Unit
  • Southwestern Public Health
  • Timiskaming Health Unit

Red-Control

  • City of Hamilton Public Health Services
  • Durham Region Health Department
  • Halton Region Public Health
  • Lambton Public Health
  • Niagara Region Public Health
  • North Bay Parry Sound Health
  • Peterborough Public Health
  • Public Health Sudbury and District
  • Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services
  • Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit
  • Wellington-Dufferin Guelph Public Health
  • Windsor-Essex County Health Unit
  • York Region

Grey-Lockdown

  • City of Toronto
  • Peel Region
  • Thunder Bay District Health Unit

DH Toronto StaffDH Toronto Staff

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