Niagara Region remains at orange level as Toronto and Peel move into lockdown

Premier Doug Ford during today's press conference at Queen's Park. Ontario Premier Doug Ford at today's press conference in Queen's Park to announce the movement of public health unit regions into higher levels in the COVID-19 response framework. (Photo Credit: Province of Ontario/YouTube).

The Ontario government has moved Toronto and Peel Region to lockdown due to growing COVID-19 infections. Tighter tier adjustments have been made to other areas of the province, while Niagara Region remains in the orange tier.

“With the numbers rising rapidly in certain regions, we have to make the tough, but necessary decisions now to protect our hospitals, long-term care and retirement homes, and every person in this province,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford. “We cannot afford a province-wide lockdown, so we are taking preventative action today by moving Toronto and Peel into Lockdown level restrictions and other regions into higher levels of restrictions.”

Despite current restrictions in the Red-Control level, cases and trends continue to worsen in some hotspot areas. Based on this data, effective Monday, Nov. 23 at 12:01 a.m. Toronto and Peel will move into lockdown. A full list of lockdown restrictions can be found here.

“Lockdowns are a difficult but necessary step to stop the spread…With the recent positive news on the development of a vaccine, there is a real hope that we can defeat this deadly virus, but for now we all must continue to follow public health advice and strictly adhere to the restrictions in place,” said Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Christine Elliott.

Other public health unit regions that will be moving into higher levels of the response framework effective Nov. 23 at 12:01 a.m. include:

  • Red-Control
    • Durham Region Health Department; and
    • Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services.
  • Orange-Restrict
    • Huron Perth Public Health;
    • Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit;
    • Southwestern Public Health; and
    • Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.
  • Yellow-Protect
    • Chatham-Kent Public Health;
    • Eastern Ontario Health Unit;
    • Grey Bruce Health Unit;
    • Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health;
    • Peterborough Public Health; and
    • Thunder Bay District Health Unit.

Public health units will remain at each level for 28 days or two incubation periods. After that period, the government will assess the trend and decide if regions will move or remain in the same level.

Visiter restrictions in long-term care homes will be applied to the Orange-Restrict levels or higher levels. Long-term health care workers will also be required to get bi-weekly COVID-19 tests starting Nov. 23. Support workers and caregivers will also be required to show proof of a negative test result within the past week.

Retirement homes in Red-Control or higher will be on high alert with visitor restrictions as outlined in the Retirement Home COVID-19 Visitor Policy (see PDF).

Additional enforcement mechanisms will also be made available to the medical officers of health. The Ontario government is working towards allowing tickets to be issued for any violations to any COVID-19 orders issued by a medical officer of health.

Ontario providing $600 million in relief to impacted business

The Ontario government is providing an additional $600 million in relief to businesses impacted by the enhanced public health measures.

This doubles the initial commitment of $300 million outlined in the 2020 budget plan.

Businesses can apply online for property tax and energy cost rebates, as well as a PPE grant of up to $1,000. These rebates are integrated with the federal Canadian Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) program. More information about this can be found here:

Federal and provincial goverments continue to work together to deliver benefits and supports for Ontarians impacted by COVID-19.

“All of us know a small business owner struggling due to COVID-19. These necessary public health measures we have outlined today will create new challenges, but…we will continue to be there to protect jobs and support employers,” said Rod Phillips, Ontario Minister of Finance .

More info:

Original news release
Press conference video
COVID-19 response framework