Ontario reveals finalized list for tiered shutdown system, Peel Region one step away from lockdown
TORONTO -- Ontario has revealed its finalized list of where each area is placed in the new tiered COVID-19 shutdown system, which shows Peel Region has been moved to one step away from a full lockdown.
Each of Ontario's 34 public health units have been placed in one of five categories, which include prevent, protect, restrict, control, or lockdown.
Each tier comes with a different set of restrictions in order to curb the spread of COVID-19. Ontario will transition to the new system at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday.
Peel Region is the only region being placed in the control level, which still allows indoor dining and gyms to reopen on Saturday with strict conditions. If the spread of COVID-19 can’t be controlled, the next step would be a full closure of non-essential businesses.
Moving from a modified Stage 2 to the new control level will actually ease restrictions in Peel Region. Currently, indoor dining and gyms are closed in that area.
"The numbers that we are seeing in Peel and specifically Brampton they are just going through the roof," Premier Doug Ford said Friday. "It is out of control right now and we have to react."
Peel Region's test positivity rate has increased to 11 per cent.
Meanwhile, Ottawa and York Region have been placed in the restrict phase.
Toronto will remain in a modified Stage 2 until Nov. 14, when it was proposed earlier this week they would join the restrict phase as well.
Brant County, the City of Hamilton, Durham Region, Eastern Ontario Health Unit, Haldimand-Norfolk, Halton Region, Niagara Region, Waterloo, Simcoe Muskoka District, and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph have been placed in the protect category.
All remaining health units are in the prevent category. There are no health units in lockdown level.
Indoor dining will be allowed to resume at all restaurants and bars in Ontario, except for Toronto, when the new system comes into effect on Saturday.
For regions in the prevent category, indoor dining continues similar to how it currently operates in Stage 3 regions. Patrons are required to be seated, with a minimum of two metres between tables.
Regions in the protect category must close establishments by midnight and only serve liquor between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. No liquor can be consumed after 12 a.m. A maximum of six people can be seated at a table, contact tracing is mandatory and music can’t be louder than the volume of a normal conversation.
For regions in the restrict category, venues will have a 50-person capacity for indoor dining. Establishments must close by 10 p.m. and no liquor can be sold between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m. There can be no consumption of liquor after 10 p.m. There is a limit of four people per table.
For Peel Region, which is in the control phase, indoor dining may remain open but a 10-person indoor capacity limit will apply.
The Ontario Hospital Association issued a statement following Friday's announcement labelling the decision to move Peel Region into the control level as "reckless."
"Given the powerful evidence of spread of #COVID19 in the Region of Peel, including 280 new cases today, the decision to proceed with reopening is reckless and must be reversed immediately given the risks it poses to area hospitals."
The organization said the William Osler Health System will be especially at risk given that the multi-site hospital serves Brampton, Etobicoke and surrounding communities.
Are gyms and fitness studios allowed to reopen?
Under the new plan, gyms and fitness facilities can reopen in all of Ontario.
In the prevent phase, restrictions remain similar to those imposed under current Stage 3 guidelines. There is a maximum of 50 people for indoor fitness classes and 100 people for outdoor classes.
In all levels of the plan, team sports must be modified to avoid physical contact. There are exemptions for high-performance athletes and there can only be 50 people per league.
In the prevent phase, sporting games can have 50 spectators indoors and 100 outdoors.
In the protect category, face coverings are required at all times in fitness facilities, except when exercising. Facilities must ensure there is three metres of space between patrons who are exercising.
Recreational programs are limited to 10 people per room indoors and 25 outdoors in the protect phase. Contact tracing information is required for all patrons, including attendance for team sports. Gyms and fitness facilities will require appointments for entry in this phase.
In the control phase, gyms and fitness studios can remain open with 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. All sports and recreational programs in other facilities, like arenas and multiplexes, are limited to 10 people per room indoors and 25 outdoors.