Posted On: Sunday, March 21, 2021
TORONTO — On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government is moving eight public health regions to new levels in the COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open. Decisions were made in consultation with the local medical officers of health and are based on the trends in public health indicators and local context and conditions.
"With the significant and increasing risk of COVID-19 variants, the next few weeks will be critical in our fight against COVID-19," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. "Thanks to the tireless efforts of our frontline health care workers we continue to accelerate our vaccine rollout, but until all Ontarians can receive the vaccine we must not let our guard down and continue following public health advice. This remains our best defense."
Based on the latest data, the following eight public health regions will be moving from their current level in the Framework to the following levels effective Monday, March 22, 2021 at 12:01 a.m.:
In consultation with the local medical officers of health and based on current trends, which has seen increasing case rates and per cent test positivity rates in the last week, the Peeel and Toronto Public Health regions will remain in the Grey-Lockdown level at this time. The government will continue to work with the local medical officers of health to determine what targeted adjustments to public health measures may be made to allow for some outdoor activities where the risk of transmission is minimized.
In addition, effective today at 12:01 a.m., the government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health moved Ottawa Public Health to the Red-Control level in the Framework. The decision was made at the request of the local medical officer of health due to the concerning trends in public health indicators in the region.
To support the province's economic recovery, the government is cautiously adjusting dining capacity limits at restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments, for regions in the Grey-Lockdown, Red-Control and Orange-Restrict levels of the Framework, effective Saturday, March 20, 2021 at 12:01 a.m.
For regions in the Orange-Restrict and Red-Control levels, capacity limits for indoor dining will be adjusted and based on a standard, scalable calculation that will allow for up to approximately 50 per cent of the indoor dining area to be accessible to the public, subject to physical distancing rules. The total occupancy cannot exceed 50 patrons in Red-Control and 100 patrons in Orange-Restrict.
In addition, while indoor dining continues to be prohibited for areas in the Grey-Lockdown level of the Framework, outdoor dining would be permitted for regions in Grey-Lockdown, subject to physical distancing rules and a number of other public health and workplace safety measures.
Please view the regulations for full details.
To ensure the continued safety of patrons and workers, public health and safety measures in indoor and outdoor settings would be strengthened in the Orange-Restrict, Red-Control and Grey-Lockdown levels in the Framework. These measures include, but are not limited to:
"While some regions are proceeding to levels with less restrictive measures and adjustments are being made to dining capacity, everyone must continue to adhere to all public health and workplace safety measures," said Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health. "We have entered the third wave of the pandemic and the rates of variants of concern continue to rise so it is important that people remain cautious and vigilant in order to minimize the transmission of COVID-19 and protect themselves and their communities."
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