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COVID-19 confusion: Breaking down Ontario's colour-coded framework by region

Last Updated Nov 13, 2020 at 7:37 pm EST

A person walks past a sign advertising the last week of patio season, in Toronto, Ont., on Nov. 3, 2020, amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Rachel Verbin

If you’re confused and overwhelmed by Ontario’s recently announced COVID-19 framework, you’re not alone.

On Nov. 3, the Ford government introduced a colour-tiered system that places regions in different sector-specific zones: Green (Prevent and Standard Measures), Yellow (Protect and Strengthened Measures), Orange (Restrict  and Intermediate Measures), Red (Control and Stringent Measures), and Lockdown (Maximum Measures).

The Ford government has been heavily criticized for its framework, with many – including the Ontario Medical Association which represents thousands of provincial doctors – saying it does not go far enough to protect the people of Ontario.

In an update on Friday, the province lowered its COVID-19 framework threshold, adding York, Halton and Hamilton to the Red Zone; a move that will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday morning.

Toronto will see these new restrictions go into effect on Saturday. Here is a full breakdown as to what you can expect to see across several regions, including Toronto, Peel, York, Durham and Halton.

Toronto – Red (Control & Stringent Measures)

 

On Nov. 14, Toronto will be moved into the Red – Control level of Ontario’s ‘COVID-19 Response Framework’.

Under the Ford government’s plan, indoor dining (with a maximum of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors) is allowed, but Toronto’s medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, put an end to that, saying the City would not reopen restaurants and bars for at least 28 days.

Restrictions per Toronto Public Health:

  • Social gatherings should only be with those you live with and/or one or two essential supports
  • Restrict close contacts only to those you live with and your essential supports
  • Limit in-person activities outside the home to essential activities only – going to work or school, health care, shopping for your household and health needs, and getting exercise and physical activity
  • Businesses and workplaces should implement work from home wherever possible
  • Businesses should review their HVAC systems to ensure they are in good working order
  • Workplaces should appoint a compliance officer to ensure implementation of occupational health and safety and infection prevention and control measures
  • Indoor dining will remain closed
  • Indoor fitness classes are not permitted
  • Meeting and event spaces will remain closed
  • In malls, patrons should not be permitted to consume food or drink while walking through malls
  • Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments will remain closed

 

Religious services: In Toronto, there are gathering limits in place for religious services, weddings and funerals with a capacity of 30 per cent indoors (10 people or less) and outdoor capacity of 100 and 25 people indoors.

Gyms: Indoor group classes are banned. Areas with weights and exercise equipment must be closed. The total number of members permitted to be at a facility in a class, organized program or organized activity cannot exceed 10 people indoors or 25 people outdoors.

Gym goers will need to be screened for COVID-19 prior to their session. Team sports must not be practiced or played except for training.

Social gatherings: Limit all social gatherings to household members only and-or one or two essential supports.

 

Peel Region – Red (Control & Stringent Measures)

 

Peel Region entered the province’s Red Zone on Nov. 9 and, similar to de Villa, Peel’s medical officer of health, Dr. Lawrence Loh, rejected the framework put in place and instead, enforced his own restrictions.

Establishments are asked to follow the strong recommendation that group seating should be limited to people from the same household and no mixed seating is allowed.

Starting on Friday, social gatherings celebrating holidays and life events in business establishments are not allowed.

 

Restrictions per Peel Public Health:

 

  • Wedding receptions and associated gatherings are not allowed, starting at 12:01 a.m. Nov. 13 until at least Jan. 7, 2021.
  • Religious services, rites or ceremonies should be virtual. When not possible, in-person religious events, including weddings and funerals, must:
  • Reduce indoor capacity to 30% capacity to a maximum 50 people per facility.
  • Seat households and essential supports together, at least 2 metres from other groups.
  • Bars, restaurants and other food establishments must restrict seating to people from the same household, or their essential supports. No mixed seating is permitted.
  • Workplaces must prohibit all non-essential visitors and make work-from-home options available, as much as possible.
  • Gyms and fitness centres must make sure all fitness class participants pre-register and provide accurate contact information to help with contact tracing if there is an exposure. No walk-in participation is allowed.
  • Meeting and event spaces, including banquet halls, must close.
  • Residents of Peel must restrict their contact to members of their household and essential supports only. Those that live alone may join one designated household.
  • Residents of Peel should not visit any other household or allow visitors to their homes or yards, except for emergency reasons, including medical and repairs, renovations or construction, deliveries and one-on-one tutoring.
  • Proper precautions must always be used in these situations, including mask wearing, distancing, hand hygiene, and isolating if sick.

 

Malls: Remain open with recommendations, such as limiting capacity in retail stores and in shopping malls, fitting rooms must be limited to non-adjacent stalls, and line-ups of patrons congregating outside venues must be managed by venue.

*York and Halton Regions – Red (Control & Stringent Measures)

 

Citing a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases, an updated list of restrictions will come into effect in York Region on Nov. 16.

York Region was previously under Orange-Restrict.

Similar to York, Halton – as well as Hamilton – was the other jurisdiction placed under Red-Control.

Halton was previously under Yellow-Protect, with provincial health officials determining the region as high risk. These new restrictions will come into effect in Halton on Monday, Nov. 16.

Social Gathering limits including public events: 

  • 10 people indoors
  • 25 people outdoors

 

Religious services, weddings and funerals:

  • 30 per cent capacity indoors
  • 100 people outdoors

 

Restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments:

  • Maximum number of patrons permitted to be seated indoors is 10
  • Require patrons to be seated; 2 metre minimum between tables
  • Outdoor dining, take out, drive through, and delivery permitted
  • Dancing, singing and the live performance of brass or wind instruments are prohibited
  • Require patron contact info (one per party)
  • No buffet style service
  • Night clubs only permitted to operate as restaurant or bar
  • Line-ups and patrons congregating outside venues managed by venue; 2 metres distance and face covering required
  • Face coverings except when eating or drinking only
  • Eye protection where patrons without face coverings are within 2 metres of workers
  • Limit operating hours, establishments close at 10 p.m.
  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • No consumption of liquor permitted between 10 p.m. to 9 a.m.
  • Require contact information for all seated patrons
  • Limit of 4 people may be seated together
  • Limit volume of music (to be no louder than the volume of a normal conversation)
  • Require screening of patrons (for example, questionnaire)
  • Closure of strip clubs

 

Gyms and Fitness centres:

  • Maximum 50 people per facility (revoke OCMOH approved plan) in all combined recreational fitness spaces or programs (not pools, rinks at arenas, community centres, and multi-purpose facilities)
  • Gyms and fitness studios permitted to be open with:
    • 10 people indoors (classes)
    • 25 people outdoors (classes)
    • 10 people indoors (areas with weights or exercise equipment)
  • All sports and recreational programs in other facilities (arenas and multiplexes) limited to 10 people per room indoors and 25 outdoors
  • Team sports must not be practiced or played except for training (no games or scrimmage)
  • No contact permitted for team or individual sports
  • No spectators permitted (exemption for parent and guardian supervision of children)
  • Exemption for high performance athletes and parasports
  • Limit duration of stay to 90 minutes except if engaging in sport
  • Limit volume of music to conversation level and prevent shouting by both instructors and members of the public
  • Face coverings required except when exercising
  • Increase spacing between patrons to 3 metres for areas of a sport or recreational facility where there are weights or weight machines and exercise and fitness classes
  • Require contact information for all patrons and attendance for team sports
  • Require reservation for entry; one reservation for teams
  • Require screening of members of the public, including spectators (for example, questionnaire)
  • A safety plan must be available upon request

 

Meeting and event spaces:

  • Maximum of 50 people per facility (revoke capacity limit on a per room basis as per OCMOH plan)
  • Facility limits:
    • 10 people indoors
    • 25 people outdoors
  • Booking multiple rooms for the same event not permitted
  • Limit operating hours, establishments must close at 10 p.m.
  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • No consumption of liquor permitted between 10 p.m. to 9 a.m.
  • Require contact information for all seated patrons
  • Limit of 4 people may be seated together
  • Limit volume of music (to be no louder than the volume of a normal conversation)
  • Require screening of patrons (for example, questionnaire)

 

Casinos, Bingo halls and gaming establishments: Open but with strict restrictions in place, such as limits of 10 people per facility indoors and 25 people outdoors.

Malls: Open

With strict restrictions in place, such as limiting capacity in stores and limiting 10 patrons permitted to be seated indoors inside a mall food court.

Cinemas: Closed

Except for drive-ins and performances or rehearsals for a broadcasted event

  • Limit of 50 people per facility (revoke OCMOH approved plan)
  • Face coverings except when eating or drinking only

 

Performing arts facilities: 

  • Closed to spectators
  • Rehearsal or performing a recorded or broadcasted event permitted

 

*Subject to change if restrictions are modified by local health officials

*Durham Region – Orange (Restrict and Intermediate Measures)

 

The province announced Durham would move from Yellow-Protect to Orange-Restrict. Durham Region will make the shift on Monday, Nov. 16.

Under the framework, the province describes the Orange Zone as saying: ‘Implement enhanced measures, restrictions, and enforcement avoiding any closures.’

Events and social gatherings (for example, barbeques):

  • 10 people indoors
  • 25 people outdoors

 

Organized public events and gatherings:

  • 50 people indoors
  • 100 people outdoors

 

Religious services, weddings and funerals:

  • 30 per cent capacity indoors
  • 100 people outdoors

 

Restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments:

  • 50 person indoor seated capacity limit
  • Require patrons to be seated; 2 metre minimum between tables
  • Dancing, singing and performing music is permitted, with restrictions
  • Karaoke permitted, with restrictions (including no private rooms)
  • Require patron contact info (one per party)
  • No buffet style service
  • Night clubs only permitted to operate as restaurant or bar
  • Line-ups and patrons congregating outside venues managed by venue; 2 metres distance and face covering required
  • Face coverings except when eating or drinking only
  • Eye protection where patrons without face coverings are within 2 metres of workers
  • Limit operating hours, establishments close at 10 p.m.
  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • No consumption of liquor permitted between 10 p.m. to 9 a.m.
  • Require contact information for all seated patrons
  • Limit of 4 people may be seated together
  • Limit volume of music (to be no louder than the volume of a normal conversation)
  • Require screening of patrons (for example, questionnaire)
  • Closure of strip clubs

 

Gyms and fitness centres:

  • Maximum 50 people per facility (revoke OCMOH approved plan) in all combined recreational fitness spaces or programs (not pools, rinks at arenas, community centres, and multi-purpose facilities)
  • No spectators permitted (exemption for parent and guardian supervision of children)
  • Team or individual sports must be modified to avoid physical contact; 50 people per league
  • Exemption for high performance athletes and parasports
  • Limit duration of stay to 90 minutes except if engaging in sport
  • Limit volume of music to conversation level and prevent shouting by both instructors and members of the public
  • Face coverings required except when exercising
  • Increase spacing between patrons to 3 metres for areas of a sport or recreational facility where there are weights or weight machines and exercise and fitness classes
  • Require contact information for all patrons and attendance for team sports
  • Require reservation for entry; one reservation for teams
  • Require screening of members of the public, including spectators (for example, questionnaire)

 

Meeting and event spaces: 

  • Maximum of 50 people per facility (revoke capacity limit on a per room basis as per OCMOH plan)
  • Booking multiple rooms for the same event not permitted
  • Limit operating hours, establishments must close at 10 p.m.
  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • No consumption of liquor permitted between 10 p.m. to 9 a.m.
  • Require contact information for all seated patrons
  • Limit of 4 people may be seated together
  • Limit volume of music (to be no louder than the volume of a normal conversation)
  • Require screening of patrons (for example, questionnaire

 

Malls: Open

  • Fitting rooms must be limited to non-adjacent stalls
  • Line-ups and patrons congregating outside venues managed by venue; 2 metre distance and face covering required
  • Limit volume of music (to be no louder than the volume of a normal conversation)
  • Consider limiting capacity in retail stores and in shopping malls in winter
  • For malls:
    • Require screening of patrons at mall entrances (for example, questionnaire)

 

Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments: Open

  • Capacity cannot exceed 50 persons
  • Table games are prohibited
  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • No consumption of liquor permitted between 10 p.m. to 9 a.m.
  • Require contact information from all patrons
  • Require screening of patrons (for example, questionnaire)

 

Cinemas: Open

  • Limit of 50 people per facility (revoke OCMOH approved plan)Face coverings except when eating or drinking only
  • Drive-in cinemas permitted to operate, subject to restrictions
  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • No consumption of liquor permitted between 10 p.m. to 9 a.m.
  • Require contact information from all patrons
  • Require screening of patrons (for example, questionnaire)

 

Performing arts facilities: Open

  • Limits with 2 metre physical distance maintained:
    • 50 spectators indoors
    • 100 spectators outdoors
  • Singers and players of wind or brass instruments must be separated from spectators by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier
  • Rehearsal or performing a recorded or broadcasted event permitted
  • Performers and employees must maintain 2 metre physical distance except for purposes of the performance
  • Drive-in performances permitted
  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • No consumption of liquor permitted between 10 p.m. to 9 a.m.
  • Require contact information from all patrons
  • Require screening of patrons (for example, questionnaire)

 

*Subject to change if restrictions are modified by local health officials