Brampton gets permission to reopen restaurants and gyms but Toronto's will remain closed
Long before Toronto had ever been deemed a "COVID-19 hotspot," Brampton was raising flags among public health officials for its disproportionately high number of cases per capita and the refusal of residents to stop throwing massive parties.
Thus, many in Canada's largest city were surprised this afternoon to learn that bars, indoor restaurants, gyms and everything else that was forced to close under the provincial government's modified Stage 2 restrictions would reopen in Peel (which contains the suburban city of Brampton) this weekend — but not Toronto.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford explained on Tuesday while announcing a new colour-coded framework for COVID-19 restrictions that Toronto Mayor John Tory had asked for more time before his city transitioned out of its current stage.
Toronto is expected to move into the new tiered system's "Orange-Restrict" level on November 14. Peel, Ottawa and York, on the other hand, will be moving into the same stage this Saturday, a full week ahead of time.
In the past, Toronto and Peel have moved together through the stages of reopening, and some are miffed to see the fellow hotspot go ahead without us this time.
It was little over a month ago, after all, that news broke of 59 people in Brampton facing fines of up to $100,000 for hosting large social gatherings. In July, Doug Ford went off on "yahoos" who kept attending parties in the city of just over 600,000 people.
Toronto, on the whole, has been no angel either — we've seen our fair share of inappropriate and dangerous gatherings since entering Stage 3 of reopening over the summer.
What Toronto does have over Brampton is a COVID-19 test positivity rate of less than double the national average.
Public Health Officials confirmed this past weekend that proportion of COVID-19 tests coming back positive in Brampton had hit 9.6 per cent in late October. Toronto was at 4.6 percent over the same period of time.
"This is well above the 5 percent benchmark used by infectious disease experts to signal the virus is under control," noted The Star of Brampton's numbers on Saturday. "Brampton's positivity rate is two-and-a-half-times higher than the national figure."
All efforts will fail if you continue to not issue $10,000 fines to @CityBrampton party-goers and hosts. Far too many Brampton residents are simply ignoring your directives. Threats of large financial penalties will NOT make them obey.— BrianM (@briangm11) November 3, 2020
None of this is to say that either city will be better or worse for reopening (though many online today are arguing that neither should after another record-high daily case count this morning.)
It's simply a matter of principle: With higher proportionate case numbers and a history of letting too loose when it comes to social gatherings, why does Brampton get to go back inside but not us?
It wouldn't be surprising if we soon saw another wave of people flocking from Toronto to the suburbs for workouts, because no borders exist between Toronto and Peel — just a short and potentially infectious 20-minute drive.
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