Pickering tells people from Toronto to stay away now that Durham Region is open
Most of Ontario is now past the blanket shutdown of the province that went into effect in December, with all regions but Toronto, York, Peel and North Bay Parry Sound now able to reopen somewhat as they enter the colour-coded framework and have their stay-at-home order lifted.
But, with some businesses now open for the first time in weeks, certain municipalities have been asking residents of hotspot areas not to region-hop to visit, as much as it would help the struggling local economy.
The mayor of Pickering, the closest city to Toronto that is in the nearby region of Durham — which is in the Red-Control zone as of Tuesday — is the latest to implore Torontonians to stay away to avoid further COVID-19 transmission just as the province is recovering from the peak of the second wave.
Maybe ask your Pickering residents to stop coming into to Toronto for work. Under normal circumstances our doors would be open but now during the pandemic it really isn’t safe.— Russell James (@capedcrusader17) February 17, 2021
Mayor Dave Ryan said during an interview with CP24 this week that he is begging people who aren't from the region "to stay in place and do what you can there."
"When things get back to normal we will open you with open arms but for the safety of yourself and certainly for our residents and our community we are asking you to stay at home," he continued.
Under red restrictions, bars and restaurants can open their doors to a maximum of 10 customers inside at a time, while gyms, all retail stores, event spaces, casinos, and businesses offering select personal care services can also reopen with stringent measures in place.
All of these are, of course, still closed in the urban centres still amid full shutdown, and will remain so if regions such as Toronto transition into the Grey-Lockdown zone as expected on Feb. 22 (with the exception of retail stores, which will be able to open with more prohibitive caps than in the red zone).
Hire Donald Trump to build a border around your boring lame ass region "Pickering", but also make sure to keep your people out of Toronto when we open up. Remember we got all the cool shit everyone comes to Toronto, no one goes to Pickering as a tourist attraction 🤣— 6ix (@datruth6ix) February 17, 2021
This has understandably caused those in neighbouring regions to wonder to what extent people will travel within the province to get a taste of life without the most heavy-handed iteration of lockdown measures — especially from Toronto and Peel, which have been under stringent restrictions for more than 12 weeks.
Ryan, whose city is only about a half hour drive from downtown Toronto, said he is "very concerned" about out-of-towners now coming in and out of the region, adding that some businesses will be screening customers to check if they are in fact from Durham before permitting them entry.
Who is surprised by this? I hope no one because it was obviously going to happen within the GTA.— Cheryl Barton (@cherylita13) January 11, 2021
The three regions that were first to see health and safety measures loosened earlier this month have likewise been trying to curb travelling visitors, with Hastings Prince Edward going as far as banning local businesses from accepting reservations from people who live in regions still subject to the stay-at-home order.
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