Premier Doug Ford announced that Ontario’s Stay at Home order will be extended for a longer period of time for Toronto, Peel, and York regions until February 22.
The orders will also continue to apply to 28 public health regions until Tuesday, February 16.
Final decisions will be subject to a review of the trends in public health indicators at that time.
When it is safe to do so, the province will gradually transition each region from the shutdown measures to a revised and strengthened COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open.
“Our number one priority will always be protecting the health and safety of all individuals, families and workers across the province,” said Ford.
“But we must also consider the severe impact COVID-19 is having on our businesses. That’s why we have been listening to business owners, and we are strengthening and adjusting the Framework to allow more businesses to safely reopen and get people back to work.”
The government updated the Framework to allow for “a safer approach to retail.” There will now be limited in-person shopping in Grey-Lockdown zones with limiting capacity to 25% in most retail settings.
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Other measures include a requirement for individuals to wear a face covering when attending an organized public event or gathering if they are within two metres distance of another individual who is not part of their household — both indoor and outdoor.
Also based on the improving local trends of key indicators, including the lower transmission of COVID-19, improving hospital capacity, and available public health capacity to conduct rapid case and contact management, the following three regions will be moving back to the Green-Prevent level on Wednesday, February 10, at 12:01 am:
- Hastings Prince Edward Public Health;
- Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health; and
- Renfrew County and District Health Unit.
“While we have seen some progress in our fight against COVID-19, the situation in our hospitals remains precarious and the new variants pose a considerable threat to all of us,” said Health Minister Christine Elliott.
“As we cautiously and gradually transition out of the province-wide shutdown, we have developed an emergency brake system giving us the flexibility to contain community spread quickly in a specific region, providing an extra layer of protection.”
A second State of Emergency has been in place since January 12 and is set to expire tomorrow. Ford did not extend the State of Emergency for the province.
According to the province, while the province-wide Stay at Home order will cease to apply in some regions as of February 10, 2021, everyone is “strongly advised” to continue to stay at home, avoid social gatherings, minimize travel between areas with different rules, and limit close contacts to their household.
“Employers in all industries should continue to make every effort to allow employees to work from home,” the release said.
Enforcement of residential evictions will remain paused in the public health unit regions where the provincial Stay at Home order remains in effect. But in regions where the order is lifted, the regular process for residential eviction enforcement will resume.
Orders currently in force under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMPCA) have been extended to February 23 and will be extended further if necessary.
The Stay at Home orders have been in effect since January 14.
To date, Ontario has seen 279,427 COVID-19 cases and 6,538virus-related deaths.