Ontario officially lifting stay-at-home order in 27 regions and moving them into colour zones
The Ontario government has officially announced that 27 regions will be moving out of the shutdown and into specific zones of the province's updated colour-coded framework next week, meaning all but four regions will no longer be under the stay-at-home order.
In a news release published Friday afternoon, the province said the majority of the public health regions will be moving back to the framework on Tuesday, Feb. 16, at 12:01 a.m. due to "general improvement in trends of key indicators."
"The health and safety of Ontarians remains our number one priority. While we are cautiously and gradually transitioning some regions out of shutdown, with the risk of new variants this is not a reopening or a return to normal," said Health Minister Christine Elliott in the release.
"Until vaccines are widely available, It remains critical that all individuals and families continue to adhere to public health measures and stay home as much as possible to protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities."
As expected, Toronto Public Health, Peel Public Health, York Region Public Health and North Bay Parry Sound District will all remain in the shutdown, and the stay-at-home order and all existing public health and workplace safety measures will continue to apply to these four public health regions.
The following regions will be moving into their designated framework zone as of next Tuesday:
Hastings Prince Edward Public Health, Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health, and Renfrew County and District Health Unit were the first to move to back the framework, entering the Green-Prevent level on Feb. 10.
The remaining four regions, including Toronto, will remain under shutdown measures and the stay-at-home order until at least Feb. 22, at which point COVID-19 indicators will be reevaluated.
According to the province, public health regions will stay in their level for at least two weeks and then the government will assess the impact of public health and workplace safety measures to determine if the region should stay where they are or be moved to a different level.
Public health regions will move up through the levels, if necessary, based on the set indicators and thresholds outlined in the framework.
The province's announcement comes after concerning modelling projections were released yesterday forecasting a dangerous third wave if public health measures are relaxed, and public health experts have been cautioning the government against reopening the economy too soon as a result.
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