ontario lockdown

Some parts of Ontario are already asking to be put back into full lockdown

As all regions of the province aside from Toronto, Peel and North Bay Parry Sound enjoy a slight relaxing of COVID-19 restrictions after weeks of a blanket shutdown, some are already facing the prospect of being out back into full lockdown just days after coming out of it.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams are apparently contemplating pulling locales like Thunder Bay back one step of colour-coded reopening framework, which it and 26 other regions graduated into on Feb. 16.

In a press conference on Thursday, Williams said that the province is worried about rising case numbers in regions like Thunder Bay, where the school board is calling for a return to virtual learning after multiple school outbreaks that have led to hundreds of students and staff having to self-isolate.

"I have been recommending that we would consider lockdown," Williams said, deeming the region an "area of concern" as it surpasses 100 infections per 100,000 residents.

Thunder Bay is currently in the Red-Control zone, under which five people can gather indoors and 10 outdoors, 10 people can dine inside a bar or restaurant, gyms and retail stores can open with limited capacities, and select personal care services, gaming establishments and meeting and event spaces can open with restrictions in place.

The province is also apparently considering shutting down Simcoe Muskoka, likewise in the red zone, Williams revealed.

Meanwhile, some politicians in York Region are asking the province to implement stricter reopening measures in their version of red, which the region entered on Feb. 22 after asking to skip over the more prohibitive grey zone.

And all but essential businesses in Toronto, Peel and North Bay Parry Sound will remain shuttered until March 8 at the earliest upon the recommendation of officials like Toronto Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa, who doesn't think the city is ready.

This is despite the fact that we and Peel have been in an extremely heavy-handed iteration of lockdown for more than 13 weeks — one of the longest COVID-19 lockdowns in the world.

The city has been seeing daily new case numbers in the 300s or lower for the past two weeks, compared to spikes in the 800s and 900s over December and January.

The province's numbers overall have been steadily dipping for seven weeks after spiking shortly after the blanket lockdown was introduced on Dec. 26, though they're been increasing day-over-day once more for the past four days to reach 1,254 on Friday.

Since the time of publication early Friday, both Thunder Bay and Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Units have been moved back into the Grey-Lockdown zone, though not transitioned back into the full shutdown and stay-at-home order that Toronto and Peel are still under.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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