Stay-at-home order for Ottawa extended by one week; Ends Wednesday in Kingston, Renfrew
OTTAWA -- The provincial stay-at-home order is being extended for one week in most parts of the province, including Ottawa, after which point the city will be permitted to reopen many businesses with restrictions.
Additionally, three local health units will see the stay-at-home order end this week.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced Monday that Ottawa is among the 28 public health units that will see the stay-at-home order extended until Feb. 16.
The situation in Ottawa will be assessed at that time to determine what is allowed to reopen. The current closures will remain in effect this week.
Ottawa was in the Orange-Restrict category before the provincewide shutdown came into effect on Dec. 26, 2020. If Ottawa's current status holds steady in the next week, it's likely the city would return to that level when the stay-at-home order lifts on Feb. 16.
Under Orange-Restrict, indoor dining can resume with capacity limits, and gyms, retail stores, cinemas and salons can reopen with restrictions. Social gatherings such as functions, parties, dinners, gatherings, barbeques or wedding receptions held in private residences, backyards, or parks, where physical distancing can be maintained would be limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
The final decision on what level Ottawa will be in will be made next week.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said on Twitter Monday afternoon that he is hopeful Ottawa will be able to return to the Orange-Restrict level and urged citizens to continue to practice pandemic safety.
"Regardless of the 'zone' we are in, let’s stick to the basics: wear a mask, practice physical distancing, wash hands regularly, stay home unless for an essential reason, limit your close contacts to those in your household, and download the Covid Alert app," he said.
Speaking at Monday's Board of Health meeting, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches said she expects Ottawa to return to the Orange-Restrict level next week, but urged people to be cautious as things reopen.
"There will be additional opportunities to come into close contact with others as we access more services. We need to take a cautious approach; we need to do that routine use of protective behaviours: use our masks, keep distance between each other, still limit contacts, and be so careful with social gatherings," she said. "We see impact over the holidays if there's too many social connections, COVID gets an opportunity to be transmitted. Ottawa was able to keep COVID-19 manageable in the orange in the fall. There could be more rigor required if more transmissible variants take hold.”
Etches said there have so far been six confirmed cases of the B.1.1.7 (UK) variant and one case of the B.1.351 (South Africa) variant in Ottawa.
Elsewhere in the region, the stay-at-home order will come to an end at 12:01 a.m. Feb. 10 in the following public health units:
- Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington
- Renfrew County and District
- Hastings Prince Edward
The province says the stay-at-home order is ending for these regions because of improving local trends such as lower transmission of COVID-19, improving hospital capacity, and available public health capacity to conduct rapid case and contact management. These regions will move back into the Green-Prevent level under the province's colour-coded reopening framework, which would allow the reopening of many businesses and services, including indoor dining, bars, and malls. Ski hills will also be allowed to reopen with physical distancing and masks required. Social gatherings remain limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, provided physical distancing can be maintained.
In a statement, Monday, Renfrew's acting medical officer of health Dr. Robert Cushman, commended residents for keeping COVID-19 transmission low but cautioned against complacency.
"While we commend the residents of Renfrew County and District for their hard work and dedication to getting us to this point, please remember that this does not mean we can let our guard down," Cushman said. "We continue to advise residents to stay at home unless for essential purposes, avoid social gatherings, minimize travel between areas with different rules, and limit close contacts to their household."
The stay-at-home order for Toronto, York Region, and Peel Region is being extended to Feb. 22. If they remain in Grey-Lockdown status at that point, the province will allow in-person shopping to resume with capacity limits of 25 per cent in most retail settings. Additionally, any other regions that enter Grey-Lockdown status will also be allowed to keep in-person retail open with 25 per cent capacity.