toronto lockdown

This is when Toronto could get out of grey zone lockdown

Life in grey zone lockdown in Toronto may be only slightly less prohibitive than life in the provincewide shutdown we were under for more than two months, but residents are already out enjoying the sun and getting their shop on now that non-essential stores are open again and the stay-at-home order is technically lifted as of Monday.

But, with Toronto among the final few regions to shed the most rigorous of lockdown restrictions and enter Ontario's colour-coded reopening framework, some are wondering when we will get to open up further and join locales like nearby York, Durham and Hamilton, which have all been in the Red-Control zone for weeks.

As the province states, regions have to keep COVID-19 numbers under certain key thresholds for things like per cent positivity among residents tested, weekly incidence rate per 100,000 residents, and ICU capacity to loosen measures further.

"Health indicators will generally be assessed based on the previous two weeks of information," the Government of Ontario website states. "However, movement to apply measures will be considered sooner than two weeks if there is a rapidly worsening trend."

Premier Doug Ford's office confirmed to blogTO that regions' potential to reopen further is examined every two weeks, meaning that the earliest Toronto can hope to emerge of the Grey-Lockdown level would be 12:01 a.m. on Monday, March 22.

This is despite the fact that we saw Simcoe-Muskoka move to red after just one week of being put into grey — which was a special circumstance, as the region was already in red before Ford implemented the "emergency brake" due to its virus stats, which improved enough in one week to permit its progression into red once again.

In Red-Control, bars and restaurants can reopen patios and also seat up to 10 diners indoors, businesses offering most personal care services (such as salons and barber shops) can resume operations, private social gatherings of up to five people inside and 25 outside are permitted, and gyms, event spaces and casinos can also open their doors.

In grey, all of these have to remain shuttered save for pickup and delivery services — as they have been since we entered the first iteration of grey all the way back on Nov. 23, some of them, even longer — though non-essential retail stores can finally open to 25 per cent capacity, which would be 50% in red.

If all goes well as far as infection rates, the city may finally in two weeks see the slow return of the businesses that have been forcibly closed for more than 100 days, and that we love and miss so much.

But, even if we are permitted to graduate into red soon, the emergency brake option to pull us back into grey is very real. And, there is still the chance that we will remain in grey after March 22 if our numbers are still too high by Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health's standards — so continue to mask up, keep your distance and do your part.

Lead photo by

@sonicgregu


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