Christmas Day gatherings of up to five people are in — unless you’re in a grey zone. Boxing Day shopping is out — unless you shop at certain big box stores. School breaks are extended. Downhill skiing is cancelled. Oh, and bathhouses and sex clubs are closed.
Welcome to Ontario Lockdown 2020, the Holiday Edition. As of 12:01 a.m. Dec. 26, the entire southern portion of the province enters a 28-day lockdown; the north, 14 days.
After Ontario announced the news Monday, some communities cried foul, most notably Ottawa. Mayor Jim Watson said his city was “blindsided” by the news. Dr. Vera Etches, the city’s medical officer of health, tweeted “I have asked the provincial govt to reconsider a two-week shutdown for Ottawa … in consideration of the evidence.”
The evidence Etches refers to is Ottawa’s relatively low COVID caseload when compared with the Greater Toronto Area. As of Monday, Ottawa reported 31 new cases, 19 COVID patients in hospital and none in ICU. In contrast, Toronto reported 486 new cases; neighbouring Peel Region reported 468 and York Region reported 326.