November 20, 2020, Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Rod Philips, Minister of Finance, and Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health announced that the province is moving certain public health unit regions to new levels in the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework, which includes moving Toronto and Peel into Lockdown. This means that restaurant patios and gyms will close. Retail will be curbside pickup only and there will be an allowance of 50% capacity in grocery stores and the LCBO. Schools, childcare, pharmacies, doctors and dental offices will stay open in lockdown zones.
Based on the latest data, the government intends to move Peel Public Health and Toronto Public Health into Lockdown effective Monday, November 23, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.
Measures under Lockdown include, but are not limited to:
- Schools, before and after school programs, and childcare will remain open;
- Post-secondary schools open for virtual learning with some limited exceptions for training that can only be provided in-person, such as clinical training or training related to a trade;
- No indoor organized public events or social gatherings except with members of the same household. Individuals who live alone, including seniors, may consider having exclusive, close contact with one other person;
- Outdoor organized public events or social gatherings limited to a maximum of 10 people;
- Wedding services, funeral services and religious services, rites or ceremonies where physical distancing can be maintained can have up to 10 people indoors or 10 people outdoors;
A more detailed list of the Lockdown measures can be found here.
Trends in public health data will continue to be reviewed weekly to determine if public health units should stay where they are or be moved into a higher level. To further support public health regions, the province is making additional enforcement mechanisms available to local medical officers of health who have applied additional measures based on their local conditions and needs.
Premier Ford also announced that there will be additional supports available for businesses affected by COVID-19 public health measures. The Ontario government is now providing $600 million in relief to support eligible businesses required to close or significantly restrict services due to enhanced public health measures, doubling its initial commitment of $300 million made in the 2020 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support Recover.
Following this afternoon’s announcement, Premier Ford, Minister Elliott, Minister Philips and Dr. Williams responded to questions from media regarding Ontario’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Questions from Media
Fines and Penalties
When asked about fines and penalties, Premier Ford responded that the only way to get through this is for people to abide by the regulations. He emphasized that it is critical we follow the guidelines.
When asked about people in lockdown regions travelling to regions with less restrictions, Premier Ford responded that while it was discussed there will be no travel restrictions. Premier Ford trusts that the public will do the right thing.
Closed Non-Essential Services
When asked about what services will be closed, Premier Ford reassured that more details will be released and there will be a hotline to call for clarifications.
Ontario Adding 3,000 New and Upgraded Long-term Care Spaces
The Ontario government is moving forward with 29 new long-term care projects, which will lead to an additional 3,000 new and upgraded long-term care spaces across the province. These projects will help reduce waitlists and improve the quality of care and quality of life for seniors. This initiative is part of the 2020 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover, a comprehensive action plan to respond to the serious health and economic impacts of COVID-19.