grey zone toronto

John Tory says Toronto will likely be under grey zone restrictions when it reopens

We may not know when stay-at-home orders will be lifted in Toronto just yet, but the city's mayor has a good idea of what we can expect in terms of restrictions when the glorious day finally comes.

And as it turns out, that day might not be so glorious (or different at all, in fact, from what we're living through now.)

Mayor John Tory told CP24 on Monday that "the likelihood of entering the grey zone is fairly high" for Toronto, based on the province's current guidelines.

If he's right, restrictions will remain similar to what they've been for months now in Canada's largest city — with a few notable exceptions, including the modified reopening of non-essential retail stores.

As it stands right now, only one region (Niagara Region Public Health) is currently in the grey-lockdown stage of Ontario's colour-coded COVID-19 response framework.

Niagara is one of 28 regions that left shutdown mode to re-enter the framework on Tuesday morning, joining Hastings Prince EdwardKingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington (KFL&A), and Renfrew County, all of which reopened last Wednesday.

Only Toronto, Peel, York and the North Bay Parry Sound District remain in shutdown with stay-at-home orders in effect, and are not expected to rejoin the framework until at least Monday, February 22.

This date could very well be pushed back, however, as officials have warned, due to highly-contagious new variants of the coronavirus in some communities.

Tory told CP24 that he's in favour of a "very cautious" approach to lifting any restrictions in Toronto right now.

"There is no point in reopening if we are just going to have to close again. I don't think there is anyone who would vote for that," said the mayor on Monday.

"We want this third wave not to happen and that involves a very cautious approach to this and I think that will involve us potentially going into the grey zone maybe in a week, but I just think again, the government would be well advised not to rush this."

Tory also reiterated that "the grey zone really doesn't bring about a huge number of changes compared to what we are experiencing today," noting that "the most important thing is going to be that people continue to stay at home."

Restaurants, bars, gyms, hair salons, non-essential retail stores and more have been closed (either partially or in full) across Toronto since November 25 when the city entered a second lockdown.

Toronto was put into the grey zone of the colour-coded framework at the time, but was moved along with the rest of the province into a full provincewide shutdown on December 26.

A second state of emergency was declared in response to skyrocketing cases of COVID-19 last month and stay-at-home orders went into effect on January 14.

Once the stay-at-home order is lifted in any specific region, that region will return to the province's colour-coded framework and stay in whichever level they're designated to for at least two weeks before the situation is reassessed.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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