Toronto is set to enter the red zone under Ontario’s new coronavirus system, while local officials will implement stricter restrictions than what is required under the provincial regulations.
Indoor dining, meeting and event spaces and gaming establishments will remain closed.
Indoor fitness classes will not be permitted, while gyms will be allowed to open with a maximum of 10 people indoors.
Businesses are being encouraged to review their HVAC systems, and are being asked to implement work from home policies when possible.
Torontonians are being encouraged to avoid socializing with those outside of their household, except for one or two essential supports.
“This wave continues to build at a pace that is no less than alarming,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said during a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
Officials cited last week’s test positivity rate of six per cent and overall rising case counts as being of concern.
The city will enter the red category on Saturday, which is when modified Stage 2 restrictions under the province’s old COVID-19 system were set to expire. It was previously expected that Toronto would subsequently enter the less restrictive orange category.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford said the tiered, colour-coded system brought in last week is meant to serve as a “baseline” that local health units can build on by adding their own, more strict, rules as needed.
In the red zone under the provincial regulations, for instance, some indoor dining and fitness classes are permitted.
It appears the additional restrictions being implemented by the City of Toronto have been formed to create a scenario similar to that of modified Stage 2, which Toronto’s medical officer of health Dr. Eileen de Villa said has had an impact and helped to mitigate case counts. The new restrictions will last for 28 days.
De Villa said the restrictions are vital to slowing the spread of COVID-19.
“It’s logical to believe that if we effectively reduce the spread, that the economy will benefit in the long run,” De Villa added during a press conference Tuesday.
Ontario reported 1,388 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday — a single-day record — with 520 of them recorded in Toronto.
— With files from The Canadian Press