Coronavirus: Ontario places municipalities in new, more targeted COVID-19 category system


The Ontario government on Tuesday unveiled its new proposed action plan for municipalities across the province, following calls for fairer and targeted closures and / or restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic.Premier Doug Ford made the announcement alongside Ontario Minister of Health Christine Elliott and Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) Dr. David Williams during his daily press conference at Queen’s Park .

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Toronto will remain in ‘modified phase 2’ until November 14, while the rest of Ontario will switch to the new system

In a document titled “COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open,” the government sets out its priorities and principles for the province as it deals with the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen numbers in the 700s and up. since several weeks.

“We give you a clear understanding of where you are as a region,” Ford said. “I know you want to access more data. I know you want predictability. ”

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Close contact is the highest risk of transmitting the virus, according to the documents, highlighting the need for people to continue to physically distance themselves, stay home when sick, wash their clothes. hands frequently and wear a mask.

Toronto, Region of Peel and Ottawa saw the highest number of cases in Wave 2 and were therefore placed in a 28-day “modified stage 2” arrest, which ends November 7. York Region followed shortly thereafter.

The new framework aims to adjust and / or tighten measures as “trends in public health indicators improve”.

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The following levels were used: prevention (standard measures – green), protection (reinforced measures – yellow), restriction (intermediate measures – orange), control (strict measures – red) and lockout (maximum measures – gray).

The objective is to have all regions of public health units at the “prevent” level. The system comes into effect at midnight on Saturday.

Most regions must be at Prevent level with the exception of Brant County, Hamilton, Durham and Halton which are at Protect level and Eastern Ontario, Ottawa, Peel, Toronto and York which are at Protect level. Restrict.

Ford has stated that those “Modified Phase 2” regions, with the exception of Toronto, will be upgraded to Restrict at 12:01 am on November 7. Ford said Toronto Mayor John Tory has requested an extra week until Nov. 14, until the city follows suit, which the premier agreed to.

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“It is 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 and families, while avoiding wider closures throughout the world. province, ”Ford said.

Regions move at different levels depending on positivity rates and number of cases, among others. Under the new system, a region that moves up to a category with tighter restrictions will stay there for 28 days.

“The indicators will generally be assessed on the basis of information from the previous two weeks,” the document said. “However, the move to apply measures will be considered within two weeks if there is a trend of rapid deterioration. “

Where public health units fall into the new levels proposed by the government.

Government of Ontario

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The proposed new levels have their own measures in place for the different categories of restaurants and bars, sports and entertainment venues, meeting and event spaces, retail, personal care services, casinos. , bingo halls and gaming establishments, cinemas and performing arts facilities.

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The proposed new measures are based on data for the week of October 26. Once the CMOH and the cabinet have updated and reviewed the data, final approval of the measurements will be made.

Restaurants and bars


• Require clients to be seated; 2m minimum between tables
• Dancing, singing and performing of music are permitted, with restrictions
• Karaoke allowed, with restrictions (including no private room)
• Require customer details (one per group)
• No buffet style service
• Nightclubs can only function as a restaurant or bar
• Queues / patrons gathering outside the sites managed by the site; 2m distance and face coverage required
• Face cover except when eating or drinking only
• Eye protection when customers without face shields are within two meters of workers

Control: Measurements of the previous three levels, however, there is only a limit of 10 people inside. Take-out, alfresco dining, drive and delivery are allowed. Dancing, singing and live performances with brass or wind instruments are not permitted.

Measures proposed for restaurants, bars and catering establishments.

Government of Ontario

Sports and recreational fitness


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• 50 people inside (course)
• 100 people in the open air (lessons)
• 50 people inside (area with weights or exercise equipment)
• Authorized spectators (50 indoors and 100 outdoors)
• Limit of 50 people per room if operation is in accordance with a plan approved by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health (Facilities Guide for Sports and Recreation)
• Team or individual sports should be changed to avoid physical contact; 50 people per league
• Exemption for high level athletes and parasports
• Limit the volume of the music (eg talk level) / require the use of a microphone for the instructor if necessary to avoid shouting

Control: Measures from the previous three levels, but gyms and fitness studios can only accommodate 10 people indoors for classes and areas with weights or equipment. All indoor sports and recreation programs can only accommodate 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors. Team sports must not be practiced or played except for training where no scrum is allowed).

Measures proposed for sports and recreation

Measures proposed for sport and recreational fitness.

Government of Ontario

Meeting and event spaces

Prevention: 50 people indoors, 100 people outdoors (exceptions for court / government services, weddings and funerals), and booking multiple rooms for an event is not allowed.

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Control: Measures of the previous three levels, however, only 10 people are allowed inside and 25 outside.

Measures proposed for meeting and event spaces

Measures proposed for meeting and event spaces.

Government of Ontario


Prevention: The fitting room can function, however, should be limited to non-adjacent stalls, queues should be handled by the store, physical distances and masks are required.

Control: All measurements of the previous three levels as well as indoor dining areas (i.e. food courts) are closed plus capacity limits during the winter holiday season for stores and centers commercial.

Measures proposed for retail sale

Measures proposed for retail sale.

Government of Ontario

Personal care services

Prevention: oxygen bars, steam rooms, saunas and hot tubs are closed.

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Control: All measures from the previous levels as well as services requiring removal or face masks are not allowed.

Proposed measures for personal care services.

Proposed measures for personal care services.

Government of Ontario

Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments

Prevention: No more than 50 authorized persons inside establishments, licensed table games or all establishments “operate according to a plan approved by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.”

Control: All measurements of the three previous levels plus only 10 people allowed inside and 25 outside.

Measures proposed for casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments

Measures proposed for casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments.

Government of Ontario


Prevention: 50 people indoors, 100 outdoors or 50 people authorized per theater hall in accordance with public health, face covering except when eating or drinking, drive-in theaters open.

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Control: All theaters have closed except drive-ins, however, rehearsals or recorded and broadcast events are still permitted.

Measures proposed for cinemas

Measures proposed for cinemas.

Government of Ontario

Performing arts installations

Prevention: 50 people indoors, 100 outdoors with physical distancing in place, singers / wind or brass players separated from spectators, rehearsals or performing a recorded / broadcast event and authorized drive-in performances, performers and employees must maintain a physical distance.

Control: No spectators are allowed, however, rehearsals or recorded and broadcast events are still allowed.

Measures proposed for performing arts facilities

Measures proposed for performing arts facilities.

Government of Ontario

The official opposition expressed its lack of confidence in the plan on Tuesday, saying many communities and small businesses simply cannot afford to “slide” towards closures as they move between levels.

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“We are very concerned about the flexibility of this program which is being unveiled by the government,” said New Democrat lawmaker Taras Natyshak, adding that additional support is needed to help businesses overcome the uncertainty.

Ontario reported a single-day record high of 1,050 coronavirus cases on Tuesday, bringing the provincial total to 78,705.

According to Tuesday’s provincial report, 408 new cases were recorded in Toronto, 212 in Peel Region, 86 in Halton Region, 76 in York Region, 57 in Durham Region, 34 each in Ottawa and Hamilton and 31 in Niagara.

With files from Gabby Rodrigues and the Canadian Press

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