COVID-19 infections continue to rise as Peel moves into the red zone

Modified Stage 2 restrictions will be lifted Saturday in York and Ottawa

This is not the distinction any Ontario community wants.

Due to a continued rise in COVID-19 cases, the province will place Peel Region in the red pandemic restriction category on Saturday, all by its lonesome, and one below a lockdown.

Modified Stage 2 restrictions will be lifted in York Region and Ottawa at 12:01 a.m. Saturday. Peel was supposed to join them.

In the red means bars, restaurants, gyms, meeting spaces and casinos can be open with a cap of 10 people.

Premier Doug Ford did not mince words about the situation in Peel.

“The numbers that we are seeing in Peel and specifically Brampton they are just going through the roof. It is out of control right now and we have to react,” Ford said during his daily COVID-19 briefing on Friday. “These are the tough decisions I absolutely hate making but at the end of the day I have to make these decisions.”

Moving to an orange zone means bars and restaurants in York Region and Ottawa can serve up to 50 customers indoors so long as the booze taps are turned off at 9 p.m. and the closed sign goes on the door at 10 p.m. Seating will be limited to four per table.

The capacity limit for gyms and recreational facilities is also the same.

Speaking about Peel, Ford said he wants to avoid the absolute worst case scenario where everything gets locked down, though the premier noted hospitals are at capacity right now.

Simcoe Muskoka is in the yellow category. This classification is one below the standard green measure and means there is enhanced enforcement and fines, as well as education to limit transmission.

There was 1,003 new cases of COVID-19 reported by the province on Friday. 280 of the new infections were in Peel.