Lambton still in the green zone while Toronto and Peel locked down starting Monday

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Premier Doug Ford says Toronto and Peel will be locked down Monday at 12 am to stop the spread of COVID-19. But Lambton county’s pandemic rules will not change.

The province has been grappling with higher numbers of people being diagnosed with COVID-19. Today, 1,418 people tested positive for the virus in Ontario, the majority in the Greater Toronto area. Peel is one of the hardest hit regions.

In lock down, people in Toronto and Peel will not be allowed to have any private gatherings with people outside their home. Single people can interact with one other family. The limit for outdoor gatherings is 10. Restaurants will have to close indoor dining. Non-essential businesses will only be allowed to provide curbside pickup.

Schools are remaining open, but colleges and universities in the lock down areas will go to virtual learning.

Religious services including baptisms, weddings and funerals as well as weekly services will be limited to 10 people.

Personal care services are closed as are casinos, bingo halls and indoor sports and recreation facilities including pools.

A government news release says the measures will remain in place for 28 days. 

The premier says $600 million will be made available to help with fixed costs for businesses in the lock down area. Applications for the money will start Tuesday and Finance Minister Rod Phillips says the money will start to flow next week.

“In this darkest hour we see what we are made of…we will get through this,” said Ford. Health Minister Christine Elliott agreed.

“This is not where we wanted to be,” she says. “Ontarians…have done this before, we can do it again.

“Now more than ever we need to adhere to the public health restrictions.”

The province also imposed more restrictions on other communities. Lambton remains in the green zone with the lowest number of pandemic restrictions.

Chatham-Kent residents will move into the yellow zone which includes more restrictions to restaurants including closing at midnight and distancing customers by two meters. Servers have to wear a shield as well as face masks while serving. Gyms will also have to move exercise equipment to three meters apart.

Windsor-Essex moves into the orange zone – which means workplaces have to have screening, night clubs will only be able to operate as bars and alcohol service will be cutoff at 10 pm. Only four people can sit together.

The Ontario government also announced it is stepping up COVID-19 testing in long term care. If a home is in an orange, red or lock down area, employees, essential caregivers and essential visitors will need to be tested weekly instead of biweekly.