ontario reopening

York Region asking to skip over grey zone lockdown and move right to red as Ontario reopens

As regions of the province transition from the blanket shutdown to various phases of a new and improved colour-coded reopening framework, residents in those places that have not yet opened up further are eagerly awaiting news about when — and to what extent — restrictions will be loosening for them.

Though Frontenac and Lennox and Addington, Hastings Prince Edward, Kingston, and Renfrew County were able to skip from full shutdown to the lightest measures under the Green-Prevent category, many are wondering what colour larger urban centres that have understandably served as "hot spots" for virus transmission will be moved into.

When Toronto, Peel and York are brought back into the framework on Feb. 22, things could feel a whole lot more normal again; or, more likely, they could remain very similar to the current measures we've been living with for weeks if we end up in the most stringent Grey-Lockdown phase.

It was from this phase, which Toronto and Peel entered back on Nov. 23 and which York and Winsor-Essex entered on Dec. 14, that we were all moved into the provincewide shutdown from on Boxing Day.

And now, York officials are asking that their region be able to progress immediately into Red-Control upon their return to the colour-coded system later this month, and not the more severe grey.

Just yesterday, a motion was moved at York Region Council to make the formal request to the province.

"What we've seen, certainly, in terms of the number of positive cases is a reduction and if that reduction continues up until including Feb. 22, we're saying that there should be a consideration of red zone, even if that's with additional restrictions," Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti, who put forth the motion, told CP24.

In red, citizens of York would be able to have social gatherings of up to five people indoors and 25 out, as opposed to indoor get togethers being completely prohibited and outdoor meetups being limited to 10 under grey.

Also, bars and restaurants would be able to seat customers for indoor and outdoor dining again, retail stores could have higher capacity limits, gyms could reopen, and so could casinos, meeting spaces and businesses offering select personal care services, all with firm measures and caps in place — none of which is allowed in grey regions.

Premier Doug Ford and his team will later today be providing an update on all remaining regions aside from Toronto, Peel, York and what coloured zone they will be moving into.

And those of us living in one of the three hot spots will have to sit tight and wait to find out what our fate will be come Feb. 22.

Lead photo by

Ontario Municipal Affairs and Housing

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