York Stage 2

York Region will officially move into modified Stage 2

The increasingly "hot" area of York Region will join Toronto, Ottawa and Peel in a modified version of the provincial government's Stage 2 reopening plan starting this Monday.

The new restrictions will come into effect on Monday, Oct. 19, at 12:01 a.m., forcing gyms, indoor dining areas, theatres, bars, food courts and more to close across the municipality of more than 1.1 million people for 28 days.

It wasn't an easy decision, according to Ontario Premier Doug Ford, but case numbers have been rising too rapidly in York for public health officials to ignore.

"Honestly, I hate this," said Ford as he reluctantly announced the news during a press conference on Friday."The indicators are going in the wrong direction."

"We're seeing a rapid increase in the rate of infection with the positivity rate of 2.77 per cent, above the high alert threshold of 2.5 per cent," Ford continued. "Cases per 100,000 in York are now nearly 39. Well, well above the provincial average."

Ford and Health Minister Chrstine Elliott both say the partial lockdown is necessary to prevent a much more severe second wave scenario — and potentially a more restrictive lockdown — in the future.

"My friends, this was not an easy decision to make," said Ford. "And I know this will be very, very difficult for many people to hear."

Difficult, maybe, but not surprising.

The premier had alluded to this very thing during his daily press briefing on Thursday, after York Region reported 127 new cases of COVID-19 overnight.

Ford said on Thursday that York was "teetering," and that his command table would be meeting to discuss further restrictions in the region.

Those restrictions turned out to be the very same as the ones in place for Toronto, Peel and Ottawa, all of which were pushed back to a modified version of Stage 2 last Friday due to spiking rates of transmission.

Halton Region, which has also seen an uptick in cases recently, could be next.

Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe said on Thursday that the COVID command table was "concerned particularly about York and Halton given the numbers that we are seeing."

A total of 712 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed across Ontario today: 213 in Toronto, 135 in Peel, 108 in Ottawa, 62 in York Region and 46 in Halton.

Lead photo by

Terry Alexander


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