TORONTO — Ontario Premier Doug Ford said on Monday that the province would extend a stay-at-home order across most of the province, but would let an official emergency declaration expire on Tuesday.
In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government is moving to a regional approach and maintaining the shutdown in the majority of the public-health regions in the province, including the stay-at-home order and all existing public-health and workplace-safety measures.
It is proposed that the stay-at-home order will continue to apply to 28 public-health regions until February 16, while in Toronto, Peel and York regions, the order will continue to apply until February 22. Final decisions will be subject to review of the trends in public-health indicators at that time.
Ontario will also be implementing an “emergency brake” to allow for immediate action if a region experiences rapid acceleration of COVID-19 transmission or their health-care system becomes overwhelmed.
The government has updated the COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open to allow for a safer approach to retail.
“Our number-1 priority will always be protecting the health and safety of all individuals, families and workers across the province,” Ford said at a press briefing. “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 are strengthening and adjusting the framework to allow more businesses to safely re-open and get people back to work.”
Limited in-person shopping in Grey-Lockdown zones will be permitted with public-health and safety measures, such as limiting capacity to 25 per cent in most retail settings. In addition, public-health and safety measures in retail settings will be strengthened for other levels of the framework. Individuals will also be required to wear a face covering and maintain physical distance when indoors in a business, with limited exceptions.
Other measures include a requirement for individuals to wear a face covering when attending an organized public event or gathering (where permitted) if they are within two metres distance of another individual who is not part of their household (both indoor and outdoor). All other requirements for gatherings and organized public events would be maintained.
Based on the improving local trends of key indicators, including 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 framework at the Green-Prevent level today and will no longer be subject to the stay-at-home order:
• Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
• Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health
• Renfrew County and District Health Unit