Ontario is recording hundreds of new COVID-19 cases every day and Premier Doug Ford is facing mounting pressure to get this second wave under control. Last week, health officials unveiled a new colour-coded system to organize Ontario’s pandemic response by region and ultimately help folks better understand what is or isn’t allowed in their community.
Each colour comes with an additional layer of restrictions on offices, restaurants and public gatherings. A health unit is assigned a colour based on the number of active cases, the positive test rate and the current capacity of hospital ICUs.
If a region wants to loosen restrictions and for example, move from yellow back to green, that health unit must demonstrate shrinking case counts and sustain those numbers for at least 28 days.
Here’s a quick reference guide:
GREEN - PREVENT
This is the best colour to be in Ontario right now. The restrictions mimic what we know as Stage 3. If your town is green, it means local health units are focusing on public safety and awareness. Indoor dining at restaurants and gyms are allowed to operate, as long as customers are wearing masks and physically distancing. Green is the most lenient in terms of allowing most “normal” activities to continue.There is nothing better than green until a vaccine or treatment becomes widely available.
YELLOW - PROTECT
If you get to yellow, that means there will be more public health measures forced on high-risk businesses including restaurants, gyms and movie theatres. Additionally, there will be targeted enforcements on the current rules surrounding social gatherings and authorities will issue fines for any offences. In this stage, liquor should only be served between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. and contact information is required from customers for contact tracing purposes.
ORANGE - RESTRICT
Implement enhanced measures, restrictions, and enforcement avoiding any closures. In this zone, restaurants and bars can serve a limited number of patrons indoors and must not serve alcohol after 9 p.m. Gyms are allowed to be open but with a maximum of 50 people and limit the duration of stay for customers. Personal care services that require the removal of a face mask are prohibited.
RED - CONTROL
Implement broader-scale measures and restrictions, across multiple sectors, to
control transmission (Return to modified Stage 2). Restrictions are the most severe available before wide scale business or organizational closure. Indoor dining is prohibited. Gyms, indoor fitness centres, cinemas, casinos and bingo halls are closed.
GREY - LOCKDOWN
People of Ontario have already lived through this back in March when little was known about COVID-19. All non-essential businesses would be closed and the premier may declare a state of emergency.
DO YOUR PART
Everyone must work together in the fight against COVID-19. Do you part. Wash your hands, avoid large crowds, stay home when possible and most importantly WEAR A MASK!