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Coronavirus: Peel Region mayors call for move to red zone in province’s colour-coded framework

Click to play video: 'Mixed messaging on coronavirus restrictions in Mississauga' Mixed messaging on coronavirus restrictions in Mississauga
WATCH ABOVE: A crack has emerged in the official pandemic messaging in Peel Region. Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie has expressed frustration that her city remains in the province's grey level of restrictions, which is the recommendation of Peel Region's medical officer of health. It has resulted in confusion among some residents. Miranda Anthistle reports – Mar 11, 2021

Mayors in Peel Region are asking the province to further loosen restrictions in their communities days after a stay-at-home order was lifted.

Peel Region — made up of Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon — was moved into the strictest “grey lockdown” category of the province’s pandemic framework on Monday, following nearly two months under the stay-at-home order.

The category allows non-essential retailers to reopen with capacity limits, while gyms, personal care services and indoor restaurant dining remain closed.

The mayor of Mississauga said she has asked the premier and Peel’s top doctor to move her city into the second-strictest “red” zone, which would allow gyms to reopen with capacity limits and indoor restaurant dining and personal care services to also resume with restrictions.

Read more: Mississauga mayor pushes for city to be moved into red zone of COVID-19 framework

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“I believe this is the right time for Mississauga to move into the red zone, with or without the rest of the region,” Mayor Bonnie Crombie said Wednesday.

Small business owners are seeing Mississauga residents go to neighbouring cities like Oakville in Halton Region to shop and dine, said Crombie, arguing that Mississauga’s case numbers warrant it being in the “red” zone.

“We can no longer afford to be held back just because case numbers in other cities in our region aren’t quite there yet,” she said.

Brampton’s mayor also said Peel should be placed in the “red” zone and councillors in his city voted Wednesday to ask the province to make that move as soon as possible.

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Toronto, Peel Region move into grey-lockdown zone' Coronavirus: Toronto, Peel Region move into grey-lockdown zone
Coronavirus: Toronto, Peel Region move into grey-lockdown zone – Mar 8, 2021

Caledon’s mayor did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Last week, Peel’s medical officer of health, Dr. Lawrence Loh had called for the region to be placed in the “grey” zone, saying it would preserve the progress made in the fight against the virus.

At that time, Crombie said she would have preferred a move to the “red” level but understood the region being placed in the “grey” zone.

Loh said Thursday that his health unit is monitoring the latest COVID-19 data for the region closely and he will soon be making a recommendation to the province on where Peel should be in the pandemic framework.

Read more: Ontario data shows coronavirus case declines levelled off, postponed procedures pose major concern

“I understand the mayors desire to move to the red zone and appreciate the support they’ve given me and my team throughout this pandemic,” Loh in a statement on Thursday.

“COVID-19 activity remains high in Peel and it is imperative that we continue to move forward cautiously to avoid a third wave and another shutdown.”

Meanwhile, Premier Doug Ford’s office said the government is taking a very cautious approach, rooted in data, and any decision on restrictions for regions will be made in consultation with the local medical officer of health.

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