As different parts of the province start to lift some restrictions from the stay-at-home order, Peel Region has not yet been approved to move into the red zone of Ontario’s colour-coded system. The Region of Peel remains in the gray zone with maximum restrictions, but Mississauga hopes to shift into the red zone which features slightly less stringent measures than a complete lockdown.
At a news conference on February 24, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie spoke about her push to transition the City of Mississauga out of stay-at-home lockdown status.
“You have a commitment from me that I will push for Mississauga into the red zone on March 9 unless we see a sudden increase in our numbers,” stated Crombie. “The decision will ultimately be made by the province as usual as it always is, and we should know where we are headed by [March 5].”
While Peel Region is currently averaging 88 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people, the City of Mississauga is well below this average at 73.2 confirmed cases per 100,000. The current parameter for the red zone sits at 40 cases, but Crombie is confident in the steady decline seen in the past few weeks, should everyone continue to remain vigilant and follow guidelines.
If Mississauga is approved for the red zone, limited indoor dining, as well as gyms and personal care services, will open following the appropriate guidelines.
“I realized how disappointing this was, particularly for our small businesses, who are anticipating reopening for in-person shopping,” continued Crombie. “We know that the small businesses were never the main source of transmission. And you have sacrificed so much, and I have been truly disappointed along with you.”
Peel Region’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Lawrence Loh, was also present at the news conference. Dr. Loh argued that while he supported Crombie’s hopeful perspective on moving into the red zone, he could not have a specific stance on the matter until he could assess the potential consequences of opening the city earlier than suggested.
At the regional council meeting the following day on February 25, councillors from Mississauga, Caledon, and Brampton, unanimously voted in favour of Mayor Crombie’s motion to move the region into the red zone. While Peel remains in lockdown, the neighbouring Halton and York regions are already in the red zone, prompting skepticism from multiple councillors on the efficacy of keeping Peel in lockdown.
“I am so proud of what we have accomplished, and we can’t risk what we have achieved,” stated Crombie. “Let’s continue doing the same thing that got us here, remaining vigilant so that our numbers continue to go down even further.”