COVID-19 Update for February 8 – 1:45PM
Today, Premier Doug Ford announced the province’s plan to gradually reopen the economy and return to a regional approach to COVID-19 restrictions.
Public Health Units to Gradually Return to the COVID-19 Response Framework
The Premier announced that the province’s state of emergency will be allowed to expire at midnight on Tuesday, February 9th. Ontario has been in a state of emergency since January 12th, and under stay-at-home orders since Boxing Day.
Ontario will also extend the current province-wide shutdown and maintain existing public health and workplace safety measures, including the stay-at-home order in most parts of the province. Hastings and Prince Edward Counties Health Unit, Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health Unit, and Renfrew County and District Health Unit will be the first public health units permitted to transition out of lockdown on February 10th. Most other public health units will follow on February 16th, with the exception of Peel, Toronto and York, where the lockdown will remain in effect until February 22nd.
As public health units transition out of lockdown, the province will begin to apply a revised version of the previous regional framework, the COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open. When the province-wide shutdown ends, public health units will be re-classified into the appropriate colour-coded zone, as per the framework.
Under the province’s reopening framework, there is a new provision to allow for a public health unit to be moved immediately into the “grey-lockdown” classification if the region experiences a rapid acceleration in COVID-19, particularly with confirmed presence of variants of concern, or if the local health system becomes overwhelmed.
Under the revised framework, non-essential retail businesses will also be allowed to reopen with stronger restrictions, including capacity limits, even when regions are in the “grey-lockdown” zone.
You can read the full announcement here.