The provincial government is easing us into a gradual re-opening of the economy - or is the Premier reacting to the tremendous pressure from the Retail Council

News 100 redBy Staff

February 9th, 2021



Ontario will begin to gradually reopen its economy on Wednesday but the government could use an “emergency brake” to move regions back into lockdown if cases spike.

Doug ford in mask

Premier Doug Ford announcing a transition out of the strict lock-down.

Premier Doug Ford said Monday that a state of emergency will be allowed to expire as scheduled on Tuesday and regions will transition back to the province’s colour-coded pandemic restrictions system over the next three weeks.

A stay-at-home order will remain in place for communities until they move over to the tiered system.

“We can’t return to normal, not yet,” Ford said. “But we can transition out of the province wide shut-down.”

As part of its reopening efforts, the province is changing the rules for the strictest category of the restrictions system to allow previously closed retailers to reopen with capacity limits of 25 per cent.

“To those business owners who are struggling, I want you to know that we have listened,” Ford said.“We’ve been working day and night to find every possible way to safely allow more businesses to reopen.”

Where will reopening start?

Three health units — Hastings Prince Edward; Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington; and Renfrew County — will move into the least-restrictive green category on Wednesday, which means restaurants and non-essential businesses can reopen.

The Timiskaming Health Unit, which was also expected to move to the green category Wednesday, will be held back for a week since a COVID-19 variant was discovered in the region over the weekend, the province said.

On Feb. 16, all remaining regions (this includes all of Halton and Hamilton) but not the three hot spots in the Greater Toronto Area are set to move to the restrictions framework. The category they are placed in will depend on their local case infection rates.

Toronto, Peel Region and York Region are expected to be the last to make the transition on Feb. 22, but the province said any sudden increase in cases could delay that plan.

Christine Elliott

Deputy Premier Christine Elliott saying this is not a re-opening – it is a transition with a hand brake at the ready.

The province will also have an “emergency brake” in place to allow the government to quickly move a region back into lockdown if it experiences a rapid increase in cases or if its health-system becomes overwhelmed.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said the measure is meant to help deal with the risk posed by new variants of COVID-19.

“This is not a reopening, or a return to normal,” she said of the changes announced Monday. “It’s an acknowledgement that we are making steady progress.

“Without those stronger public health measures, (Ford) might be dooming us to the cycle of illness and lockdowns, again and again,” she said.


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1 comment to The provincial government is easing us into a gradual transition that could lead to a re-opening of the economy – or is the Premier reacting to the tremendous pressure from the Retail Council

  • perryb

    Lets all realize that we’re being guided now by political decisions, not public health. Ford’s people are making it up as we go, day by day. So the answer to a simple question like “where will Burlington be in a week?” is….. what ?