Toronto, Peel Region moving to grey lockdown restrictions under Ontario’s COVID-19 framework

The Ontario government has announced Toronto and Peel Region will be reentering the province’s COVID-19 response framework of restrictions at the grey lockdown level.

According to an update issued by the government on Friday, the change in restrictions comes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on March 8. The current stay-at-home order for Toronto and Peel Region will also be lifted.

“Toronto Public Health and Peel Public Health are also making progress, but as their case rates still remain high, they will return to the framework at the grey lockdown level,” the Ontario government said in a news release Friday afternoon.

Read more: Coronavirus: Toronto officials recommend city move into grey-lockdown level next week

Toronto and Peel Region will stay in the grey lockdown level for at least two weeks and there will be continual reassessments of the status.

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The move comes days after the medical officers of health for both communities called for a return to the grey lockdown level.

“Despite this positive step forward, a return to the framework is not a return to normal,” Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said.

“As we continue vaccinating more Ontarians, it remains critical for everyone to continue to follow public health measures and stay home as much as possible to protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities.”

Here’s what you can and can’t do under Ontario’s grey lockdown level of restrictions:

Animal services, board kennels, horse racing

Veterinary services along with businesses and organizations that are responsible for the health and welfare of animals, including farms, kennels, stables and shelters, along with ones that train and provide service animals, and pet grooming, walking, sitting and training are allowed to operate.

For kennels and stables, the owner or their designate can visit the animal.

Only training for horse racing is allowed. Races and spectators aren’t allowed.

Attractions and zoos

Amusement parks must stay closed.

Museums and cultural amenities can open as drive-through only.

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Zoos can only operate on a drive-through basis or for care services.

Campgrounds

Trailers and RVs being used by people in need in housing or are allowed on a full-season contract basis are allowed. Only campsites with electricity, water and sewage facilities will be allowed to be used.

All other recreational facilities aside from washrooms and showers must stay closed.

Shot-term rentals booked before Nov. 22 are allowed and only those who need the spaces for housing who booked after Nov. 22 will be allowed to visit.

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Cannabis stores

Cannabis stores can be open for curbside pick-up.

Casinos, bingo halls, gaming

Casinos, bingo halls and gaming facilities were ordered closed.

Cinemas, movie theatres, performing arts facilities

These facilities are closed except for drive-in cinemas. Rehearsals or performances being recorded or broadcast are allowed with restrictions. At performing arts facilities, spectators aren’t allowed. Singers and musicians playing brass and wind instruments must be separated by impermeable barriers and stay two metres apart except during the performance. A safety plan will need to be prepared and available upon request.

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Driving schools

In-person instruction is not allowed but virtual classes can continue.

Film and television production

Film and television production can go ahead so long as there are no spectators. Employees and performers have to keep two metres apart except when needed for filming. Various pre- and post-production services are allowed. Hair and makeup staff are required to wear personal protective equipment. Singers and musicians need to be separated by impermeable barriers.

Post-production is permitted.

Golf courses and driving ranges

Outdoor driving ranges and golf courses can open, but indoor facilities must stay closed. Clubhouses must stay closed to the public with limited exceptions.

Hotels, motels and short-term rentals

Hotels, motels lodges, resorts and student residences can remain open for business. However, pools, fitness centres, meeting rooms and other recreational amenities must be closed.

Specific to short-term rentals, reservations booked on or before Nov. 22 can be honoured. However, reservations after that date can only be for people in need of housing.

Household services

Housekeepers, nannies, baby sitters and other household staff will be allowed to keep working. Cleaning, maintenance and repair-related services and businesses will also be allowed.

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Libraries

Only curbside pickup and delivery will be allowed. Patrons can go inside facilities for pick-up and drop-off or to access computers, photocopiers and similar services. Permitted services are allowed.

Meeting and event spaces

Meeting and event spaces must stay closed except for spaces used for child care, court and government services, mental health and addiction support services with a maximum of 10 people and spaces used for social services.

Nightclubs and strip clubs

Nightclubs and strip clubs can only operate if doing so as a restaurant or other food and drink establishment, which means take-out, drive-through and/or delivery services of food and drink only.

Personal care services

Personal care service providers (e.g. hair salons, barbershops etc.) must stay closed.

Photography studios and services

Commercial and industrial photography is allowed, but retail studios need to stay closed.

Real estate

Real estate agencies will be allowed to operate, but open houses must be by appointment only.

Regulated health services

Regulated health professionals (chiropractors, dentists, massage therapists, ophthalmologists, physical and occupational therapists, podiatrists) are allowed to operate under the provincial framework.

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Restaurants, bars, cafes

Indoor and outdoor seating is banned. Existing take out, drive-through and delivery services will be allowed to continue.

Schools and post-secondary institutions

Schools and daycare facilities will be allowed to remain open in accordance with previous reopening plans and adherence to evolving public health guidelines.

Post-secondary institutions can stay open for in-person instruction only for programs that require it (for example clinical medical training, trades etc.). Virtual learning will be required for all other situations.

Shopping and retail

In-person shopping can occur, but supermarkets, convenience stores, pharmacies and other stores primarily selling groceries must cap the number of customers to 50 per cent of the approved capacity.

For all other retail and big-box stores, there is a cap of 25 per cent capacity.

It will be up to stores to ensure passive screening is done of customers. That screening can be the posting of signs outside advising people not to enter if they have COVID-19 symptoms.

Indoor malls are required to screen patrons before they enter the mall and loitering inside the malls isn’t allowed.

Customers will need to maintain a two-metre distance and wearing face coverings in accordance with the existing regulations.

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Curbside pick-up and delivery will continue to be allowed.

Social gatherings, religious services, weddings, funerals

Organized, indoor public events and social gatherings are banned except for people from the same household. Outdoor organized public events and social gatherings with physical distancing are capped at 10 people. Virtual and drive-in events with distancing will be allowed.

Weddings, funerals and religious services are capped at 10 people indoors and 10 people outdoors. Physical distancing must be adhered to.

Virtual and drive-in religious services, rites, ceremonies and events are allowed.

Sports and recreation fitness

All indoor facilities and activities have been ordered closed. Community centres and multi-purpose facilities can only remain open for exempt activities and services such as child care or day camps.

Indoor individual and team sports, as well as training, aren’t allowed except for high-performance athletes and professional leagues (e.g. NHL, CFL, MLS, NBA etc.).

Outdoor facilities such as ice rinks, ski hills can be open with restrictions (e.g. a ban on team sports).

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