ontario lockdown

These are the Ontario regions moving into new coloured reopening zones

As Ontario tests the waters of gradual reopening and COVID-19 numbers fluctuate across regions, Premier Doug Ford and his team have been keeping an eye on the data and switching up which areas of the province are in which colour coded zone of the framework when health officials feel it prudent to do so.

A few regions have been upgraded to more open levels or been plunged into futher lockdown lately, the most recent being Hamilton, which will be moved from the Red-Control zone into Grey-Lockdown on March 29.

This means indoor dining, gyms, gaming establishments, event venues and other settings must shutter, while other types of businesses will see further restrictions implemented. Private indoor gatherings will now also be banned, and outdoor gatherings limited to ten people.

Eastern Ontario Health Unit, which includes the city of Cornwall, will also move to a more stringent zone on Monday, going from Orange-Restrict to red, which will see tighter capacity limits and other measures imposed on businesses, gathering limits cut from 10 to five indoors, and cinemas closed.

Timiskaming Health Unit, which is five hours or so north of Toronto, is likewise being moved into red, effective today, as a result of "a rapid worsening of trends in key health indicators in the region," the province states. The region was just put into Yellow-Protect last week.

The health indicators assessed by officials include the case rate per 100,000 residents, the positivity rate among those tested, the reproduction factor of the virus, and number/severity of outbreaks, ICU capacity and contact tracing capacity in a region.

Numbers that are going up too high or too quickly are cause for concern, and could result in a change of zone or even a return to the full shutdown we saw in December, in which all but "essential" businesses are closed for in-person service.

This drastic move can be made for any region at any time through the new and more extreme emergency brake.

Other regions that have moved into new zones over the last week are Brant County, Chatham-Lent and Leeds, Grenville and Lanark into red; Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph into orange, and North Bay Parry Sound, Porcupine and Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington into yellow.

The province always has a handy and regularly updated interactive map on its website that residents can check if they're unsure of what zone their home region is in. Changes generally take place every two weeks if at all, unless the emergency brake is pulled.

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