This is how long the lockdown could last in Ontario and what might come next
While Toronto, Peel, York, Windsor-Essex and Hamilton are currently in the lockdown stage of the province's COVID-19 framework, that system will soon be paused as the entirety of Ontario enters a province-wide shutdown on Saturday, Dec. 26.
Premier Doug Ford announced the impending shutdown Monday, and it came as health experts throughout the province have been pleading with the government to take swift and stringent action — many of whom have since expressed disappointment that the lockdown won't come into effect for several more days.
OHA welcomes today's government announcement, and respects the sacrifices an Ontario-wide lockdown will entail. But every day counts, so we’re surprised and disappointed that it will take another 5 days to implement: https://t.co/geqIwloSaZ #onpoli #onhealth #StopTheSpread pic.twitter.com/kGgS9x59My— Ont. Hospital Assoc. (@OntHospitalAssn) December 21, 2020
But while the shutdown will take effect on the same day for all Ontario regions, it won't have a blanket end date.
According to details released by the provincial government, all public health units in northern Ontario will remain in lockdown until at least Jan. 9, and the impacts of the shutdown measures will be evaluated following the 14-day period.
For the province's more populous regions, located in southern Ontario, the lockdown will last at least 28 days — until Jan. 23.
Once the 14 and 28-day periods have ended, respectively, the province will then decide whether the shutdown can be lifted or whether it needs to be extended.
Ontario regions are expected to return to the province's colour-coded framework whenever the shutdown does end, though the framework will likely be updated following evaluations of the impacts of the lockdown measures.
"The Chief Medical Officer of Health will assess and apply lessons learned thus far to the COVID-19 Response Framework to ensure appropriate and effective measures are in place to protect the health of Ontarians and enable economic recovery after the Provincewide Shutdown ends," reads a news release from the province.
"This will include an assessment of how a revised approach for the safe reopening of retail may be operationalized, according to the latest available evidence."
The province will therefore return to a regional approach when the shutdown ends, with stricter measures once again in place for hot spot regions, though whether or not residents choose to defy the rules and gather over Christmas will certainly have some bearing on how long the shutdown remains in effect and what comes next.
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