By: Laura Steiner
Ontario will take its first steps to return to the province’s reopening framework. Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced that province would end the state-of-emergency, while at the same time extend the stay-at-home orders.
“Our number one priority will always be protecting the health and safety of all individuals, families and workers across the province,” Ford said. It marks the first step to return to the colour-coded framework. Health Units in Hastings- Prince Edward, Kingston, and Renfrew County will move straight to the green level effective Wednesday February 10.
28 Public Health Units (PHU) will be issued separate stay-at-home orders to last until February 16, 2021 including Halton. “Extending the stay-at-home orders for most of the province is necessary to protect our communities, our most vulnerable populations, and stop the spread of COVID-19,” Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said. Toronto, Peel, and York will remain in the grey zone until February 22, 2021. All Emergency Orders have been extended until February 23, 2021.
“We must also consider the severe impact the lockdown is having on our businesses,” Ford said. The province is also changing the approach to retail. In the grey zones, in-person retail will be allowed un public health guidelines limiting capacity in most settings to 25%. Mask-wearing will be mandatory those attending indoor gatherings.
The province has also introduced a mechanism in the case of a PHU being overwhelmed by rapid transmission. “As we cautiously and gradually transition out of the provincewide shutdown, we have developed an emergency brake system giving us the flexibility to contain community spread quickly in a specific region providing an extra layer of protection,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said. Halton has reported its first case of the UK strain, related to travel.
“This is not a re-opening or a ‘return to normal’ and we must continue to limit close contact to our immediate households and stay home except for essential reasons,” Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer (CMOH) Dr. David Williams said. Williams will be in contact with the other CMOH’s to help with guidance on when to lighten, and strengthen restrictions. Enforcement of residential evictions will be paused in the grey designation.
The Region of Halton reports an increase of 31 cases of COVID19 today. Of those only 6 came from Milton.
By: Laura Steiner