COVID-19 Ontario: Lockdowns under consideration for Toronto and Peel region amid rising infections

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TORONTO – Ontario government plans to place Toronto and the Region of Peel in lockdown and move more regions into the ‘red’ zone of its COVID-19 shutdown framework as province grapples with an increase in infections, CTV News Toronto has learned. Premier Doug Ford’s office discussed the new recommendations made by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer Dr David Williams for hours on Thursday night and they continue to be a source of deliberation on Friday morning.

Ford has not publicly indicated what exactly the new measures would entail, but said Thursday they would be “tough.”

The Prime Minister is expected to announce the measures at 3:30 p.m. alongside Williams, Health Minister Christine Elliott and Finance Minister Rod Phillips.

CTVNewsToronto.ca will broadcast the announcement live.

Toronto, Hamilton, and the regions of York, Peel and Halton are currently in the fourth category, the “red zone,” of the province’s five-tier framework to guide restrictions on COVID-19. CTV News Toronto has learned that Durham Region and Waterloo may join this list.

According to the provincial framework, regions in the fifth and final category of “gray” lockdowns could see large-scale measures and restrictions, including closures, as well as consideration of an emergency declaration.

CTV News Toronto has confirmed the province will double the funding available for businesses struggling with the pandemic to $ 600 million. This funding applies to rebates of property taxes and energy costs.

Documents obtained by CTV News Toronto indicate that the money would help support qualifying businesses, which “are required to shut down or significantly restrict services due to improved public health measures.”

On Friday morning, the Ontario government extended a number of COVID-19 orders until mid-December, which allows the province to implement rules on public gatherings, closings of businesses and managing outbreaks in hospitals or long-term care homes.

Current orders under the Ontario Reopening Act will remain in effect until December 21.

The province topped 100,000 total COVID-19 cases on Friday since the start of the pandemic.

The majority of Friday’s 1,418 new infections were detected in Toronto (393), Peel Region (400) and York Region (168).

York Region officials sent a letter to the Prime Minister on Thursday asking him not to go into lockdown.

York is currently in the “red zone” of the province’s framework and officials say they want more time to see if these restrictions work before implementing other measures.

This is news in development. More soon.

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