Ontario Introduces New COVID Guidelines

By: Laura Steiner
Ontario has announced a new COVID-19 framework based on colour coding each public health region.  The guidelines, entitled “Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework were introduced earlier today by Premier Doug Ford.
“It’s clear that COVID-19 will be with us for a while, which is why we are putting in place a framework that will protect the health and safety of individuals, families, while avoiding broader closures across the province,” Ford said.  The new guidelines take a more gradual approach to restrictions.
Ontario Public Health units will be designated one of five colours:

  • Green- Prevent- the least strict.  25 regions remain designated green. Regions assigned to the Green designation will be expected to focus on education, and put public awareness, as well as health and safety workplace safety measures in place.  Restrictions will remain eased, but the highest risk settings will still remain closed.
  • Yellow- Protect: four public health regions will enter the system designated Yellow including Halton. Enhanced, targeted enforcement, fines, and enhanced education to limit further transmission.
  • Orange- Restrict: Five regions including Toronto, Peel, Ottawa, and York enter designated as Orange. Toronto may see its designation extended until November 14, 2020.  Areas designated orange will be expected to implement enhanced measures, restrictions, and enforcement avoiding any closures.
  • Red- Control- Implement broader-scale measures and restrictions, across multiple sectors, to control transmission (Return to modified Stage 3).  Restrictions are the most severe available including widescale business and organizational closure.  No regions have been designated Red.
  • Grey- Lockdown- Widescale measures including closures, to halt or interrupt transmission (a.k.a) stage 1 or pre stage 1.  No regions enter the system under lockdown.

The new guidelines were implemented after consultation  with the Chief Medical of Health Dr. David Williams .  “This framework is critical to ensuring that public health measures are able to help slow the spread of the virus, while also supporting mental health and other social determinants of health,” he said.  The new framework will be confirmed November 6, 2020 by the province of Ontario in consultation with Chief Medical Officers of Health from the 34 units, as well as Williams.
The initial zoning was decided based on data gathered the week of October 26, 2020.  The designations will be reviewed on a weekly basis going forward.  These designations will take effect Saturday November 7, 2020 12:01 a.m.