New tiered system to indicate regional lockdown criteria

·2 min read

On Tuesday, Ontario Premier, Doug Ford announced a new tiered system that outlines specific criteria for COVID-19 lockdowns, apparently with the hope of ending the ambiguity of current COVID restrictions. In the new system, each tier comes with its own restrictions and benchmarks, and aims to be a clear guideline as the province continues towards pandemic recovery.

After receiving lots of backlash for confusing and conflicting guidelines in the stage 1, 2 and 3 restrictions, Premier Ford says he’s “just trying to find a happy balance” with the information he receives from health officials, small business owners and municipalities.

There are five tiers in the new COVID-19 Response Framework: Prevent, Protect, Restrict, Control and Lockdown. Ford states that with the implementation of these new guidelines the province “will be better suited to handle the second wave and any future waves.” This new response system was made with assistance from provincial and municipal health ministers and has a main goal of early intervention to prevent the need for full lockdowns. Along with this new response framework, the province will be releasing an online dashboard on the COVID-19 webpage that will be updated daily. Premier Ford says this is all the same information that he uses when assessing the regional situations and he hopes that by sharing this data, the province can stay informed and up to date. Health Minister Christine Elliot states that the Response Framework will be “targeted, instrumental and responsive” and that it will prevent the need for broader closures. Each tier has specific requirements and restrictions for different types of public gatherings and spaces depending on their risk level.

The new COVID-19 Response Framework will be in effect as of 12:01 a.m. this Saturday, Nov. 7. Durham Region will be in the Protect Tier, which aims to limit further transmission of the virus. This tier has advanced measures for high risk locations like restaurants and gyms and will keep gathering restrictions at 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors, (or 25 people indoors and 100 outdoors for organized events and gatherings). In the Protect Tier, the weekly incidence rate is 10 to 39.9 per 100,000 people, with testing positivity between one and 2.5 per cent.

The proposed regional placement into the tiered system will be finalized and released on Friday Nov. 6. More information about this new tiered system can be found at https://www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-response-framework-keeping-ontario-safe-and-open

Justyne Edgell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Uxbridge Cosmos