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What university students need to know about the second Toronto lockdown

A woman walks past the Toronto sign in Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto, Ontario on Nov. 23, 2020, the first day of a new lockdown in the city. Source: Geoff Robins/AFP

The second Toronto lockdown is in effect for 28 days beginning Nov. 23, 2020, which sees the regions of Toronto and Peel move into the grey level of the colour-coded COVID-19 framework. Throughout this period, you are advised to stay at home except for essential reasons. This includes shopping for groceries and necessities; going to work, school, or daycare; attending healthcare appointments or picking up prescriptions, as well as exercising.

While the first lockdown in April was focused on eldercare communities, this Toronto lockdown will aim to curb the spread of COVID-19 among “marginalised populations who have seen a much more extensive virus spread than other parts of the population,” as Toronto Mayor John Tory told CNN. The first lockdown successfully lowered cases, but the mayor says that gatherings of young people and a general complacency on health and safety protocols have led to an increase in cases since then. So if you’re a student in Toronto, here’s what you should remember throughout these two weeks.

Toronto lockdown: What’s allowed, what’s not?

According to an official release, “When leaving for essential trips, residents must wear a mask when outside of their homes, especially in indoor settings and when physical distancing is difficult.” Anyone who does not abide by the lockdown rules could be fined up to 750 Canadian dollars.

As most students are already studying online, your university life may not be affected much by the new rules. However, bear in mind that no indoor gatherings are allowed, while outdoor gatherings are limited to 10 people. At the same time, you’re allowed to have close contact with one other household if you live alone.

Though restaurants will be open for takeaway and delivery, you’re no longer allowed to dine in. Stores that are permitted to open, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, may only operate at 50% capacity. Curbside-pickup is now the preferred way to shop for essential items. All other non-essential retail outlets should be closed, including salons and gyms.

Canada is taking the provincial lockdown route for the foreseeable future. Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denied that the entire country would enter lockdown. “I think we can work closely with the provinces to make sure we’re all doing the right thing without having to go heavy-handed from the federal government,” he said.

So if you’re in Toronto, limit your movements in the upcoming weeks, and postpone all long-distance travelling to be safe. International students may still enter Canada on commercial flights, as they should head directly to their quarantine location upon arrival.

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