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Stay At Home Order Extended Temporarily, Ontario Moving To Regional Reopening Plan

Monday February 8th, 2021, 1:33pm


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The province of Ontario is extending the stay-at-home order for another week for most of the province, including Windsor-Essex.

Premier Doug Ford announced Monday the provincial government is moving to a regional approach to reopening the province while temporarily maintaining the shutdown and stay-at-home order in the majority of the public health regions in Ontario.

“We’re getting hit with new variants of COVID-19, and there’s significant delays in getting our vaccine supply,” Ford said. “This is a critical time, we can find a way forward, but we need a plan that can protect the health and safety of everyone in this province.”

Ford said they will gradually transition each region from the shutdown measures to a revised COVID-19 Response Framework, which is the colour-coded system used previously.

“We can’t return to normal, not yet, not while our hospitals could still be overwhelmed,” Ford said. “But we can transition out of the province-wide shutdown.”

The government says they have updated the framework to allow for a “safer approach to retail” which includes “permitting limited in-person shopping in Grey-Lockdown zones”. They say this will be accomplished with strong public health and safety measures.

The plan means “all other retail”, including, but not limited to discount and big box retailers, liquor stores, hardware stores and garden centres, will be allowed to open with 25 per cent capacity while in Grey-Lockdown.

Screenshot from the province’s regional reopening plan webpage.

Reopening Regions

With public health trends improving in some regions faster than others, the province says the current stay-at-home order will be amended to a regional approach to reopening under the colour-coded framework.

The province says 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 on Wednesday, February 10th, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. and will no longer be subject to the stay-at-home order:

  • Hastings Prince Edward Public Health;
  • Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health; and
  • Renfrew County and District Health Unit.

They say it is proposed that the stay-at-home order will continue to apply to 28 public health regions, including Windsor-Essex, until Tuesday, February 16th, 2021. At that time, the province will move regions back to levels in the framework.

For Toronto, Peel and York regions, the province is proposing that the stay-at-Home order will continue to apply until Monday, February 22nd, 2021.

They say final decisions for moving regions will be subject to review of the trends in public health indicators at the time.

Emergency Brake

The province says they are introducing an “emergency brake” to allow for immediate action if a public health unit region experiences rapid acceleration in COVID-19 transmission or if its health care system risks becoming overwhelmed.

“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 provincewide 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.”

If this occurs, they say the Chief Medical Officer of Health, in consultation with the local medical officer of health, may advise immediately moving a region into Grey-Lockdown to interrupt transmission.

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