Premier Doug Ford said that effective Monday November 23 at 12:01 am, Toronto and Peel will be moved into another lockdown for at least 28 days.
“With the numbers rising rapidly in certain regions, we have to make the tough, but necessary decisions now to protect our hospitals, long-term care and retirement homes, and every person in this province,” said Ford on Friday.
“We cannot afford a province-wide lockdown, so we are taking preventative action today by moving Toronto and Peel into Lockdown level restrictions and other regions into higher levels of restrictions. We need to take decisive action to stop the spread of this deadly virus.”
The premier said that $600 million will be made available immediately to help businesses with overhead costs.
Health Minister Christine Elliot said that there will be no indoor private gatherings and individuals who live alone may have close contact with one other household.
“More needs to be done to limit community transmission and protect our most vulnerable. Lockdowns are a difficult but necessary step,” she said.
Outdoor gatherings can have a maximum of 10 people and restaurants must continue to close indoor dining but can do take out and delivery—outdoor dining is also prohibited.
Elliot also mentioned that religious services and weddings must be restricted to 10 people indoors physically distance and 10 outdoors.
Retail is permitted to be open for curbside pick-up or delivery only, with certain exceptions such as for supermarkets, grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores, discount and big box retailers selling groceries, beer, wine and liquor stores, safety supply stores, and convenience stores, which will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity.
Personal care services will be closed, as well as casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments.
And indoor sports, recreational facilities, including pools will be closed with limited exceptions.
It’s important to note that schools, before and after school programs, and child care will remain open.
Earlier in November, the Ontario government introduced the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework, which places every region into five categories. Each has distinct guidelines to help stop the spread of the virus. The five categories are prevent (green), protect (yellow), restrict (orange), control (red), and lockdown (grey).
Toronto, Peel Region, Hamilton, Halton, and York Region are all in the red zone. But Toronto and Peel have added restrictions with the closures of indoor dining, fitness classes, and cinemas.
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According to the province, public health units will stay in their level for a minimum of 28 days, or two COVID-19 incubation periods, at which time, the government will assess the impact of public health measure s to determine if the public health unit should stay where they are or be moved to a different level.
For long-term care homes, visitor restrictions apply to those homes in the public health units that are in the Orange-Restrict level or higher.
And to further protect the health and safety of those in long-term care homes, staff, essential caregivers and support workers who provide direct care to residents in those regions will be tested more frequently for COVID-19, moving from bi-weekly tests to weekly as of November 23.
In addition, support workers who provide direct care and caregivers in those regions will be asked to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result in the past week and verbally attest that they have not subsequently tested positive.
Cases have been rising drastically with Ontario officially surpassing the 100,000 mark of COVID-19 cases since the pandemic was declared in March.
On Friday, the province confirmed 1,418 new cases, tipping the total number to 100,790.
This means that Ontario accounts for almost one-third of Canada’s 315,751 total cases.