UPDATE: Ontario will commence its province-wide lockdown on December 26 rather than Christmas Eve, as previously reported. Original story below.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford is set to announce a full province-wide lockdown Monday that will come into effect on Christmas Eve, CTV Toronto reports.
According to sources, a full lockdown will begin on December 24 at 12:01 am, and will last for 28 days in southern Ontario, and 14 days in northern Ontario. The lockdown will be very similar to the one imposed in the spring, with "non-essential" businesses, restaurants, and gyms being forced to close.
The announcement will come on the darkest day of the year, which is also the day Hamilton joins Toronto, Peel Region, York Region, and Windsor-Essex in the grey lockdown zone of Ontario's reopening framework. Grey zone lockdowns have had very little effects in Toronto, but are still being imposed on other parts on the province.
While the government has not officially confirmed the lockdown, Ford stated last week that he would be taking part in multiple emergency meetings over the weekend to discuss further restrictions, and repeated multiple times that "everything is on the table"
Premier Doug Ford, Health Minister Christine Elliott, Education Minister Stephen Lecce, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams, and the president and CEO of William Osler Health System are set to make an announcement at 1 pm on Monday, where they will likely announce the lockdown.
According to sources, the decision to lock down the entire province is being made based off modelling data, which showed that cases could implode after the Christmas season. In the past, the actual amount of COVID-19 cases in Ontario had shown to be lower than the "best-case scenario" set by provincial modelling.
While Ontario has reported over 2000 daily cases for the past six days, most of them are in the Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton, and southwestern Ontario. Places in the Northern and Eastern parts of the province, like Ottawa, have had stable and low numbers for many weeks. Ottawa's ICUs are also free of COVID-19 for the first time since September.
However, Ottawa and other towns that have had low case counts are not expected to be exempt from this lockdown. Another thing that isn't expected to be exempt are schools, which will likely be shut for a few weeks.
If the lockdown is not extended after 28 days, Toronto and Peel will have been in lockdown for 60 days. More details are expected later today.