ontario lockdown

More restrictions might soon be lifted in Toronto under a new version of the grey zone

Toronto and Peel may not have gotten to enter the red zone as we had hoped we might on March 22, but residents have been able to enjoy a few more freedoms under an amended grey zone, including shopping at "non-essential" retail stores and more recently, patio dining at bars, restaurants and cafes.

With spring weather here to stay and people itching to get out and about after months of stringent lockdown, local and provincial governments are trying to find ways to reopen things further while still mitigating virus transmission.

One of the options is to expand the list of outdoor activities that are currently permitted in grey, the most prohibitive of the province's coloured zones, given that the outdoors are generally considered safer than indoors as far as COVID-19 spread is concerned.

Ontario Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe hinted during a presser on Thursday that such changes may be made during a Cabinet meeting on Friday, and could include things like outdoor gym sessions and haircuts, outdoor sports, and "other outdoor activities" that are currently being considered.

She added that "whatever we are going to be allowing, we'll have to make sure that people are trying to keep their distance and be as safe as possible."

There has already been some talk of barber shops and salons being able to see clients outside, with Ontario Premier Doug Ford suggesting that they and businesses such as gyms may be able to reopen further soon, though it is unclear whether they will in fact be limited to outdoor service only and/or what other new measures may have to be in place.

Medical officials have been generally encouraging people to get out and enjoy the sun and the start to patio season, but to keep their distance from others and do so safely and cautiously.

Thunder Bay, Sudbury, and Lambton are the only other regions currently in the grey zone, which Toronto entered on March 8, though they were all previously in red before Ford decided to implement the emergency brake to bring them into grey due to rising COVID stats.

Lead photo by

Fareen Karim

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