Hastings Prince Edward is one of three regions scheduled to transition to a revised and strengthened COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open (the "Framework").
Details were provided by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, and Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health.
"Our number one priority will always be protecting the health and safety of all individuals, families and workers across the province," said Premier Ford. "But we must also consider the severe impact COVID-19 is having on our businesses. That's why we have been listening to business owners, and we are strengthening and adjusting the Framework to allow more businesses to safely reopen and get people back to work."
Based on the improving local trends of key indicators, including lower transmission of COVID-19, improving hospital capacity, and available public health capacity to conduct rapid case and contact management, our region will be moving back to the Framework at the Green-Prevent level on Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. and will no longer be subject to the Stay-at-Home order. Download the RULES FOR AREAS IN STAGE 3
Recognizing the risk posed by new variants to the province's pandemic response, Ontario is introducing an "emergency brake" to allow for immediate action if a public health unit region experiences rapid acceleration in COVID-19 transmission or if its health care system risks becoming overwhelmed. If this occurs, the Chief Medical Officer of Health, in consultation with the local medical officer of health, may advise immediately moving a region into Grey-Lockdown to interrupt transmission.
"While we are seeing our numbers trend in the right direction, our situation remains precarious as the variants of concern remain a serious risk," said Dr. Williams. "This is not a re-opening or a 'return to normal' and we must continue to limit close contact to our immediate households and stay at home except for essential reasons. By continuing to follow all public health and workplace safety measures, we can continue to reduce the number of new cases and the strain on our health system."
In addition, the provincial emergency declared under s 7.0.1 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMPCA) will be allowed to terminate at the end of February 9, 2021. While the provincewide Stay-at-Home order will cease to apply in some regions as of February 10, 2021, everyone is strongly advised to continue to stay at home, avoid social gatherings, minimize travel between areas with different rules, and limit close contacts to their household. Employers in all industries should continue to make every effort to allow employees to work from home.
The Chief Medical Officer of Health will continue to consult with public health and other experts, review data, and provide advice to the government on the appropriate and effective measures that are needed to protect the health of Ontarians.
- Provincewide Shutdown measures went into effect on December 26, 2020 to stop the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the province.
- The government declared its second provincial emergency on January 12, 2021 and issued a Stay-at-Home order to reduce mobility and address hospital capacity concerns.
- Ontario has implemented a six-point plan to deal with the new variants which includes mandatory on-arrival testing of international travellers, enhanced screening and sequencing, maintaining public health measures to keep people safe, strengthening case and contact management to track the spread of new cases, enhanced protections for vulnerable populations, and leveraging the latest data to inform public health decisions.
- In January, Ontario's provincial offences officers visited 1,147 big-box stores and other essential retail businesses to ensure businesses are following the public health guidelines and properly protecting workers and customers from COVID-19. 112 tickets were issued to businesses and individuals during three inspection campaigns.
- To support the safe return of in-person learning, Ontario has introduced new measures to continue to protect students and staff against COVID-19 in the classroom.
- Once the shutdown is lifted, visitor restrictions for long-term care homes will once again apply to those homes in the public health regions that are in the Orange-Restrict level or higher. In addition, long-term care homes must implement enhanced testing requirements.
- A full list of emergency orders under the EMPCA as well as orders under the ROA can be found on the e-Laws website and at Ontario.ca/alert.