Ontario's new tiered COVID-19 system places York Region in 'restrict' category
NEWMARKET, ONT. -- Kaitlyn Ledgerwood was thrilled to hear the province will allow York Region establishments to reopen Saturday.
"I'm very excited," the Newmarket restaurant owner said. "It's a step in the right direction."
Ledgerwood had to close her restaurant, Castle Johns Pub & Restaurant, when Ontario pushed the region back to a modified Stage 2 after COVID-19 cases surged last month.
Restaurants, gyms, and movie theatres in the province's hot spots were required to close for 28 days to slow the spread.
On Tuesday, Premier Doug Ford introduced a new tiered system for COVID-19 closures.
"Based on current trends and the advice of the chief medical officer of health, we're prepared as of Sat., Nov. 7 at 12:01 a.m. to move Ottawa, Peel and York Region to Restrict level," Ford said. "This means gyms and indoor dining will be open with the capacity limits and restricted hours."
The province categorized York Region in the Orange or Restrict category, meaning enhanced measures are applied to prevent transmission of the virus, such as closing venues by 10 p.m. with no liquor sold between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m. Establishments will also have a limit of 50 people indoors and four to a table.
York Region's medical officer of health, Dr. Karim Kurji, said the government's decision would ensure residents' livelihoods and public safety.
But Kurji said with the restrictions easing, it's still necessary to be cautious.
"We are maximizing our chance of getting as close to normality as possible until a vaccine is available," the doctor said.
Meantime, Ledgerwood is looking forward to reopening tables for customers and hopes to remain open.
"'I'm very hopeful this is great for our business," she said.
With files from CTV Toronto