Toronto’s top doctor is asking the province to put the city in the gray lockdown category of their framework for COVID-19 restrictions starting Monday, so non-essential retail stores can reopen while most other stores remain closed

Health officer Dr Eileen de Villa shared her recommendation during a briefing at City Hall on Wednesday, calling it a “modest step towards more flexibility in daily life”

If approved by the provincial government, the designation would allow non-essential retail stores to reopen across the city, including those located in malls

Most stores will be limited to no more than 25 percent of their regular capacity, however. Grocers, convenience stores, and other businesses primarily selling groceries will get up to 50 percent of their regular capacity

“Based on the data we have, it is clear that an extensive reopening, for example in the red category of the provincial framework, is currently not advisable because our case counts,” said de Villa, noting that the number of samples examined was positive for one variant Concerns in Toronto Doubled in the Last Week “Getting out of the” stay-at-home “order is sensible practice for Toronto, although I would add that while there are obvious reasons for a status change, there are reasons or there are risks that underscore what a return to the gray state is, or will be, be a delicate balance ”

The province lifted its state of emergency last month and began gradually bringing the regions back into their frame, with the exception of Toronto, Peel, and North Bay, which continue to be under an expanded stay-at-home order

As part of Toronto’s potential retreat into the gray area, de Villa has enacted a Section 22 ordinance that sets out a number of additional requirements for workplaces with active outbreaks, including the mandatory wearing of masks by employees at all times

De Villa said she had also asked the Ministry of Labor to conduct a “flash to workplace inspection” in the city

“Returning to the provincial framework is a modest step towards more flexibility in daily life that can be taken because we have all worked to limit the spread of COVID-19 It is important, however, that we all act so that these hard-earned little things are not wasted step forward, ”she told reporters.“ It’s about preserving what we have won ”

Wednesday was Toronto’s 100th Day in a row locked but de Villa’s recommendation could mean a slight easing of restrictions for the first time since this summer

Of course, restaurants and bars are only left to take away and other businesses like gyms and hair salons cannot reopen for two weeks

Indoor gatherings of people from different households are still prohibited, but outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people are permitted

“I’m very personable to those who won’t be able to go gray again, but I think the best way to avoid that further lockdown later that I think everyone says for a person worst case scenario would be to take these cautious steps one at a time and follow public health advice and keep doing what we have done in many ways and then the day may not be too far away when we can do more ” said Mayor John Tory during the briefing on Wednesday

De Villa’s announcement on Wednesday afternoon came hours after Peel’s medical health officer Dr Lawrence Loh confirmed that he will also work to ensure that his region is classified in the gray barriers category within the framework of the province

Loh’s recommendation comes despite a vocal campaign by Mississauga Bonnie Crombie to move the region to the red zone, which would have allowed dining indoors again in bars and restaurants with capacity constraints

“From five cases two weeks ago we now have over 100 confirmed cases of variants in our community and 600 that have been screened positively, and these numbers make me pause,” Loh said earlier in the day. “Our hospitals are also seeing admissions related to the Spread of variants, and although ICU occupancy has improved from the peak of the second wave, it still remains at a level equivalent to that of the first wave in spring 2020. Reopening too quickly carries the risk of increasing the gains made eliminate and endanger life and well-being ”

Peel’s seven-day rolling mean of new cases has increased from 194 at this point in the last week to 213

It also has the highest weekly incidence rate of any public health unit when adjusted for population

Loh said if conditions were different he would “strongly recommend easing measures faster,” as he did in July, but cannot do so as cases rise

During a subsequent press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Crombie spoke to reporters and admitted that she was “extremely disappointed” with the decision, but said she understood the reasons

Even so, Crombie said she would like the data to be checked weekly so that Peel can be moved to the red zone as soon as possible

The province has typically announced that it will not move regions to a new level until two weeks of data are available

“It is extremely unfair that companies in neighboring regions have received a major reopening. If you will, think about it for a moment. Standing on Dundas Street on Winston Churchill Boulevard, there are restaurants and shops on the south side of the street for personal shopping and restaurants open while they are closed on the north side of the street because the north side of the street is in Mississauga. That’s just unfair and unfair too, ”said Crombie

During the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Friday Nov. February 2021, a man walks past a sign with COVID-19 retail supplies THE CANADIAN PRESS / Nathan Denette

Rules for Toronto’s Gray Area

World News – CA – Toronto’s best doctor calls for the city to move into the gray area so retail stores can reopen