Province reveals new tiered COVID-19 shutdown system

Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has been placed in the protect category

Ontario’s new tiered COVID-19 shutdown system is in effect and the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is in the protect category.

In the protect category, face coverings are required at all times in fitness facilities, except when exercising. Facilities must ensure there is three metres of space between patrons who are exercising. 

Recreational programs are limited to 10 people per room indoors and 25 outdoors in the protect phase. Contact tracing information is required for all patrons, including attendance for team sports. Gyms and fitness facilities will require appointments for entry in this phase. 

The five categories are prevent, protect, restrict, control and lockdown.

Peel Region is the only location to be placed in the control or red zone, one step away from a lockdown.

The Ontario Hospital Association issued a statement labelling the decision to move Peel Region into the control level as “reckless.”

“Given the powerful evidence of spread of #COVID19 in the Region of Peel, including 280 new cases today, the decision to proceed with reopening is reckless and must be reversed immediately given the risks it poses to area hospitals.”

Moving Peel from a modified Stage 2 to the new control level will ease restrictions. Indoor dining and gyms will reopen Saturday with restrictions.

At his media briefing on Friday, Premier Doug Ford said the flashpoint is Brampton.

“The numbers that we are seeing in Peel and specifically Brampton they are just going through the roof,” Ford explained. “It’s out of control right now and we have to react.”

The test positivity rate in Peel Region has soared to 11 per cent.

Joining Simcoe Muskoka in the protect category is Brant County, the City of Hamilton, Durham Region, Eastern Ontario Health Unit, Haldimand-Norfolk, Halton Region, Niagara Region, Waterloo, and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph.

Ottawa and York Region have been placed in the restrict phase, and Toronto will remain in a modified Stage 2 until Nov. 14, and will join the restrict phase on that date.

All remaining health units are in the prevent category.