On Friday the Ontario government reported 1, 076 new cases of COVID-19 and 18 deaths.
The province announced that the emergency stay-at-home orders imposed on Dec. 26 will be lifted for much of the province by Feb. 16.
Twenty seven regions will move back into the colour-coded COVID-19 response framework and will remain at their colour level for at least two weeks.
The colour-coded system eases restrictions as zones go from grey (lockdown) to green.
Stay-at-home orders remain in place for York, Toronto, Peel and North Bay-Parry Sound. Niagara Region is the only region to move into the grey-lockdown zone.
Lambton Public Health will move into orange-restrict zone.
Social gatherings in orange-restrict are limited to 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors; Religious, wedding and funeral services are limited to 30 per cent capacity indoors and 100 people outdoors. Restaurants, bars, fitness facilities and retail stores in Lambton may re-open with limited capacity while maintaining social distancing rules.
Premiere Ford cautioned that the opening of small businesses is a transition and should not be seen as a return to normal. He said that Ontarians should still avoid all travel and stay at home when possible.
“We have to be cautious . . . we saw what happened before,” said Ford. “It’s not a wide open rah rah rah, let’s go party.”
The news comes as another new variant of the virus, first detected in California, has begun spreading in the United States. Studies show that this, along with previously discovered variants, is more contagious than the original strain.
The Minister of Health said Ontarians should continue to be vigilant and follow safety protocols to avoid a possible third wave of the virus.
“While we are cautiously and gradually transitioning some regions out of shutdown, with the risk of new variants this is not a reopening or a return to normal,” said Minister of Health Christine Elliott.
The Lambton COVID-19 Immunization Task Force reported that as of Saturday it has administered the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccines to every long-term care and high risk retirement home resident in the county as well as to Indigenous Elder Care home residents on Aamjiwnaang First Nation, Kettle & Stony Point First Nation, and Walpole Island First Nation.
As of Feb. 13 there are 80 active cases of COVID-19 in Lambton County and 45 total deaths.
A complete list of colour zone restrictions can be found on the Ontario COVID-19 website.