Ontario will unveil a new tiered system for COVID-19 restrictions that will give municipalities and public health units clear criteria for when to impose lockdowns and closures.
CTV News Toronto has learned Premier Doug Ford's cabinet will consider the new system Monday, and is expected to reveal the plan on Tuesday.
Government sources, speaking on background to discuss matters that have yet to be approved by cabinet, tell CTV news Toronto the new system will act as a dimmer switch allowing regions to gradually increase or decrease restrictions as needed — replacing the current modified stage two restrictions.
Each tier would carry a more stringent set of measures ranging from no restrictions whatsoever, to a full lockdown for the regions that have unmanageable rates of COVID-19.
Each stage would also come with a set of criteria, giving local health units and business owners some level of predictability when it comes to pandemic related restrictions.
While the exact criteria for restrictions is unclear, Health Minister Christine Elliott has said that past decisions have been made based on number of new cases, the region’s ability to test and trace and local hospital and intensive care capacity.
Progressive Conservative MPP’s have been calling for a clear set of guidelines that would spell out when a region would move into or out of lockdown territory.
Ford is also expected to announce the next steps for bars, restaurants, gyms and movie theatres which were all targeted in the modified stage two restrictions imposed on Ottawa, Toronto, Peel and York regions.
He said a decision will be made "very soon" on whether restrictions can be eased in the province's COVID-19 hot spots.
The premier said he would get recommendations from the health table, adding that he would hopefully have some "better news over the next few days."
"We'll have to review what the health table brings to us an make that decision very soon," Ford said.
Premier Doug Ford says he wasn't happy with the modified stage 2 (in Toronto, Ottawa and Peel) because of the impact on the businesses.
But, the premier says, the actions were necessary. #onpoli