Toronto is moving into the Grey Zone starting next week, which will see all retail open.
On Friday, the province announced that Toronto and Peel will move into the Grey Zone on Monday, March 8 at 12 am.
The Ontario government made the decision in consultation with the chief medical officer of health, to transition the remaining three regions under the Stay at Home orders to move into a revised and strengthened COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open (the “Framework”).
The other region was North Bay Parry Sound, which will be moving to the Red-Control zone on Monday.
“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 province-wide shutdown,” said Deputy Premier and Health Minister Christine Elliott in a statement.
“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.”
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The province said based on the latest modelling data, the number of new cases, deaths and hospitalizations across the province are decreasing due to health measures being followed. However, with COVID-19 variants of concern continuing to spread, “the actions of everyone over the coming weeks will be critical to maintaining the progress communities have made across the province to date.”
Based on the latest data, these seven public health regions will also be moving to the following levels in the Framework:
- Peterborough Public Health
- Public Health Sudbury and District
- Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit
- Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
- Timiskaming Health Unit
- Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit
- Renfrew County and District Health Unit
The announcement comes after Toronto’s top doctor and Mayor John Tory recommended that the city move into the Grey Zone once the Stay at Home orders lift.
Tory said four categories need to be considered before moving into the Grey Zone. They include public health, consistent regional and provincial rules, behaviour and mindset of people, and jobs and the economy.
The Grey Zone would see retail reopen at 25% capacity with enhanced screening measures. This means malls can also reopen, but dining areas will still be closed, and people are discouraged from congregating in the mall.
Indoor gatherings are still not permitted and outdoor gatherings can only have 10 people with distancing if you’re not from the same household.
Personal care services are still closed, as is indoor dining.
Indoor facilities and recreational sports will remain closed, but outdoor ski, ice and snow recreational amenities can open for recreational purposes.
The other regions in the Grey Zone are Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit and Thunder Bay District Health Unit.
Now, all 34 regions are in Ontario’s colour-coded framework.