Toronto will stay in full lockdown for at least two more weeks
After more than six weeks under the strictest form of pandemic lockdown we've experienced to date, Ontario is ready to begin reopening its economy once again.
It will happen slowly and it will happen gradually, according to the provincial government — and Toronto will be among the last of all public health regions to see restrictions loosened.
While much of what happens in the coming weeks depends on COVID-19 case numbers and ICU capacities, we know the following for certain:
"My friends, the measures are working — staying home is saving lives and I want to thank Team Ontario, every single person, for doing your part, for following the public health measures," said Premier Doug Ford when announcing his government's reopening plan on Monday morning at Queen's Park.
"Together we are bending the curve... but my friends, we're not clear of this storm yet," Ford continued, pointing to the immense pressures still being experienced in some hospital ICUs, as well as complications related to highly-contagious new variants of the virus and vaccine procurement delays.
"While we are seeing our numbers trend in the right direction, our situation remains precarious as the variants of concern remain a serious risk," said Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Williams, during Monday's press conference.
"This is not a re-opening or a 'return to normal' and we must continue to limit close contact to our immediate households and stay at home except for essential reasons."
Three regions will, however, see stay-at-home orders lifted on February 10 at 12:01 a.m.: Hastings Prince Edward Public Health, Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health, and Renfrew County and District Health Unit will all enter the Green-Prevent level of Ontario's COVID-19 framework this Wednesday.
As of right now, Ontario plans to lift stay-at-home orders for all 28 other public health regions (excluding Toronto, Peel and York) on Tuesday, February 16.
"For Toronto, Peel and York regions, it is proposed that the Stay-at-Home order will continue to apply until Monday, February 22, 2021," reads a release issued by the government Monday afternoon.
"Final decisions will be subject to review of the trends in public health indicators at that time."
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