The provincial government has extended its stay-at-home order for much of Ontario.
The details were announced in a press conference Monday (Feb. 8) with officials noting a new regional approach to the shutdown as well as a revised framework for reopening.
“Our number one priority will always be protecting the health and safety of all individuals, families and workers across the province,” said Premier Doug Ford.
“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 we are strengthening and adjusting the framework to allow more businesses to safely reopen and get people back to work.”
A media release notes that three regions – served by Hastings Prince Edward Public Health; Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health; and Renfrew County and District Health Unit – will no longer be subject to the stay-at-home order as of Wednesday (Feb. 10).
It is proposed that the stay-at-home order will continue to apply to 28 public health regions until Tuesday, Feb. 16. For Toronto, Peel and York regions, it is proposed that the stay-at-home order will continue to apply until Monday, Feb. 22. Final decisions will be subject to review of the trends in public health indicators at that time, the media release notes.
“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 Minister of Health 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.”
Recognizing the risk posed by new variants to the province’s pandemic response, Ontario is 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. If this occurs, 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.
“While we are seeing our numbers trend in the right direction, our situation remains precarious as the variants of concern remain a serious risk,” said Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams.
“This is not a re-opening or a ‘return to normal’ and we must continue to limit close contact to our immediate households and stay at home except for essential reasons. By continuing to follow all public health and workplace safety measures, we can continue to reduce the number of new cases and the strain on our health system.”