Construction continues during COVID-19 lockdowns starting today in Toronto and Peel Region

COVID-19 sign Hartwell Locks Ottawa
COVID-19 construction sign at the Hogs Back (Hartwell Locks) bridge project in Ottawa

Ontario Construction News staff writer

Construction sites will not be affected by new lockdowns put in place this week in Toronto and Peel Region.

On Nov. 20, the Ontario government announced Peel Region and Toronto would move into the “Grey-Lockdown” category of the province’s Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework.

New restrictions came into effect on Monday, Nov. 23 at 12:01 am.

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“My friends, I’ve been clear on this: the situation is extremely serious and further action is required to avoid the worst-case scenario,” Premier Doug Ford said at a press conference on Friday.

While many businesses will be hit with wide-scale closures and restrictions, construction will largely continue in Peel and Toronto.

“Manufacturing, agriculture, supply chain and most construction can continue,” said Christine Elliott, minister of health.
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Employers are expected to place an increased focus on health and safety in order to keep job sites open during the 28-day lockdown period.

Ford says new restrictions were needed to help preserve hospital capacity and protect residents of long-term care homes.

“With the numbers rising rapidly in certain regions, we have to make the tough, but necessary decisions now to protect our hospitals, long-term care and retirement homes, and every person in this province,” he said.

“We cannot afford a province-wide lockdown, so we are taking preventative action today by moving Toronto and Peel into lockdown level restrictions and other regions into higher levels of restrictions. We need to take decisive action to stop the spread of this deadly virus.”

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Some regions have shown worsening trends in key indicators, despite having a range of public health measures and restrictions in place since early October.

The Ontario government is now providing $600 million in relief to support eligible businesses required to close or significantly restrict services due to enhanced public health measures, doubling its initial commitment of $300 million made in the 2020 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support Recover.

Businesses can apply online for temporary property tax and energy cost rebate grants from the province, via an easy-to-use one-window portal. The rebates will cover the length of time that a business is required to temporarily close or significantly restrict services as a result of being located in an area categorized as Red-Control or Lockdown, or previously categorized as modified Stage 2 public health restrictions.

Most businesses can expect to receive their rebate payments within a few weeks of submitting a complete application. A detailed list of eligible businesses, as well as instructions for applying, can be found at Ontario.ca/covidsupport.

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