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Toronto, Peel staying in lockdown, restrictions on weddings, funerals, church services revised

Last Updated Mar 12, 2021 at 5:25 pm EDT

Dog Ford delivers press briefing on COVID-19 fight. Dr. David Williams (Chief Medical Officer of Health), Matthew Anderson (President and CEO of Ontario Health), Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott (Minister of Health), Dr. Dirk Huyer (Coordinator of the Provincial Outbreak Response).

Toronto and Peel Region will remain in the province’s “Grey-Lockdown” zone while the Ford government has announced revised restrictions when it comes to weddings, funerals and church services.

The provincial decision comes on the heels of Mississauga mayor Bonnie Crombie and Brampton mayor Patrick Brown calling for a move to the “Red-Control” zone.

In a statement released Friday, the provincial government revealed it was moving three public health regions to new levels as of midnight on March 15, including Lambton Public Health which will move to the lockdown zone.

Additionally, Northwestern Health Unit will move to the “Red-Control” zone while Leeds, Grenville, and Lanark District Health Unit shifts into the “Yellow-Protect” zone.

“The latest modelling suggests we are at a critical stage in our fight against this devastating virus, and that the actions we take now will help ensure people stay safe,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

“As we near completion of Phase One and prepare to rollout Phase Two of our vaccine distribution plan next month, we urge everyone to continue following all public health measures and advice to help prevent further transmission and protect our health system capacity.”

On Friday, Brown said city council unanimously endorsed a motion to be moved into “Red-Control” zone “as soon as possible.”

Shortly after the news that Peel Region would not be removed from the province’s lockdown, he said “This was the right call by Dr. Lawrence Loh and Peel Public Health.”

“The #COVID19 hot spots in our community must be controlled if we are going to be permitted by the province to reopen our economy & enter the red zone,” he tweeted alongwith support for closing Amazon Canada’s Brampton warehouse over COVID concerns.

Crombie said she was “disappointed” with the province’s decision that Mississauga be kept in the grey zone.

“I had been strongly advocating for the City to be moved into the Red zone, and this week I expressed my views directly to the Premier,” Crombie said in a statement. “The reality is that Mississauga’s case counts warrant us being there. Most importantly, the City’s reproductive number – the most significant indicator of community transmission – dipped below 1.”

Crombie added she’s hopeful that by next week the Missisauga will be advanced out of lockdown and on an equitable footing with neighbouring regions.

“Our small business owners are seeing Mississauga residents – their customers – go into neighbouring cities like Oakville to shop and dine out when we should be in Red as well. We can no longer afford to be held back just because case numbers in other cities in our Region aren’t quite there yet.”

On the advice of Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams, the province is also adjusting capacity limits for weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites, or ceremonies in Grey-Lockdown level.

Effective March 15 at 12:01 a.m., weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites, or ceremonies will be permitted to allow for up to 15 percent total occupancy indoors, or up to 50 people outdoors.

There is currently a max capacity limit of 10 percent occupancy indoors.

“While the data shows that Ontario’s vaccine rollout is helping to save lives, the next few months are critical,” said Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health. “We all must remain vigilant and continue following public health advice and measures to prevent transmission, as variants of concern are continuing to become more prevalent throughout the province and threaten to undo all of the positive gains we have all worked so hard to achieve.”

Ontario’s latest round of provincial modelling suggested that there has been increased mobility leading to less-than-ideal circumstances across multiple Public Health Units.