Published Friday, December 11, 2020 11:27AM EST
Last Updated Friday, December 11, 2020 2:08PM EST
The Ford government made the announcement in a news release issued on Friday afternoon.
The move comes amid a surge in cases in both jurisdictions.
Meanwhile, Windsor has reported an average of 79.8 new cases per day over the last week and on Thursday its medical officer of health ordered all schools to switch to online learning only for the week leading into the holiday break in an attempt to limit transmission.
What is allowed and what is not allowed in communities in the grey lockdown level
"Moving a region into Grey-Lockdown is not an easy decision, but it is one we needed to make in order to help stop the spread of the virus and safeguard the key services we rely on," Health Minister Christine Elliott said in the release. "As we enter the holiday season and as the province prepares to receive its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines, it remains crucial for all Ontarians to continue adhering to public health advice and workplace safety measures to reduce the spread of the virus and keep each other safe."
There has been an acceleration in case growth in York Region for weeks now but many local officials, including Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti and Vaughan Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua had lobbied the province to keep the region in the red zone, at times arguing that there continued to be sufficient public health capacity despite the rising case counts.
Then earlier this week the CEOs of three major hospital networks in York Region released an open letter that warned that the municipality’s healthcare system was at a “tipping point.”
Following that, York Region’s Medical Officer of Health Kurji seemed to acknowledge that a lockdown might be inevitable, telling CP24 that the “various metrics do not seem to be boding well for us.”
"We did all we could to present a very united front at York Region and as well following the advice of our medical officer of health but the province obviously has more information and has a more comprehensive view of what's going on not only in our area but surrounding areas which also affects us,” Bevilacqua told CP24 on Friday. “I do think the narrative needs to change because this is lasting longer than most people thought it would and it is really having an impact on the psychology of individuals who have now seen these lockdowns occur more than once.”
In a statement issued on Friday afternoon, Scarpitti said that he respects the decision taken by the province but will continue to advocate for “fairer options for small businesses.’
“This move by the province does not let us off the hook,” he said. “Almost 50 per cent of the cases in York Region are the result of close contact transmission.”
In addition to moving York and Windsor into a lockdown, the province has also announced that it will designate three more public health units as red zones – Middlesex-London, Simcoe Muskoka and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph.
It is also moving the Eastern Ontario Health Unit into the orange zone and the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit into the yellow zone.