Beginning November 14, 2020, Toronto will move into the Red-Control Level of Ontario's new COVID-19 Response Framework. In Ontario’s new colour-coded system, it is the last level before a complete lockdown.
Toronto logged its highest number of new COVID-19 cases — 533 — on November 10. Given the rising case numbers, stricter measures, besides those set down in this level, will be introduced. Currently, Toronto is under modified Stage 2 restrictions.
Under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act, extra measures will be in effect. These include closure of indoor dining and indoor group fitness classes.
Meeting and event spaces as well as casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments will also stay shut.
Red-Control measures, including the extra measures, will be in effect for a period of 28 days, starting November 14.
What public measures will be in force in Toronto?
General public health measures
The gathering limit for public events and social gatherings in the Red Level is 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
The gathering limit for religious services (including weddings and funerals) is 30% capacity indoors (to a maximum of 50), and 100 people outdoors.
Face coverings are mandatory in indoor workplaces, and indoor public spaces (with some exemptions).
It is advised that non-essential travel from areas of high transmission to areas of low transmission be restricted.
Enhanced measures for Toronto
Besides legislated measures, Dr Eileen de Villa, Toronto's medical officer of health, has issued directives to reduce the spread of COVID-19. These include:
- Limiting social gatherings to household members (with 1 or 2 essential supports).
- Restricting close contacts to household members. Visits to private homes should be avoided unless for emergency reasons (e.g. tutoring, repairs etc.)
- Advising people to step out of their houses only for essential activities.
Enhanced measures for workplaces
Businesses must review and ensure their HVAC systems are working well. Employers should encourage work from home, where possible.
Workplaces will also require a compliance officer to ensure occupational health and safety measures are in place
Public health measures for food or drink establishments
Restaurants, bars and food or drink establishments can operate with restrictions in Red-Control level. But under the enhanced measures for Toronto, indoor dining is not permitted.
Public health measures for sports and recreational fitness
Indoor group fitness classes will not be allowed in Toronto under Section 22 of the HPPA.
Though gyms can operate with 10 people permitted indoors and 25 in outdoor classes. Face coverings are mandatory except when patrons are exercising. There should be a three-metre distance between patrons while using equipment.
Public health measures for retail businesses
Under the special measures, shoppers can't eat or drink while walking through a mall.
As per Red-Control Level measures, interior dining spaces in malls will stay closed. Retail stores and malls must limit their capacity during winter holiday season. Operational fitting rooms must not be adjacent inside retail stores.
Social distancing and use of face coverings is mandatory. Malls must screen patrons at entrances. They must also have a safety plan available on request
Public health measures for personal care services
Services that need removal of face coverings are not allowed. Businesses must screen all patrons and keep a record of their contact information. They should also have a safety plan ready for inspection.
Change rooms and showers will stay closed as will oxygen bars, steam rooms, saunas, and whirlpools.
Bath houses, other adult venues, hot tubs, floating pools and sensory deprivation pods will remain closed (with some exceptions)
Public health measures for cinemas and performing arts facilities
Movie theatres will remain closed except for drive-in cinemas.
Performing arts facilities will stay closed to spectators. But rehearsals or performing a recorded or broadcasted event is allowed.
Plexiglass or other such barriers must separate singers and players of brass or wind instruments from other performers. Such facilities must have a safety plan ready for inspection.
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