The provincial government has just announced that Toronto will move into the third stage of its economic reopening on July 31, paving the way for the majority of businesses in Canada’s most populous city to resume operations after four months of lockdown.
Stage three of reopening will allow Toronto and the Region of Peel, to reopen gyms, movie theatres and playgrounds, with social distancing guidelines in place, an Ontario government statement said.
According to the statement, this decision was made in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and local medical officers of health. It is based on positive local trends of key public health indicators, including lower transmission of COVID-19, ongoing hospital capacity, public health capacity to conduct rapid case and contact management, and a significant increase in testing.
Toronto Public Health and Peel Public Health regions will join the 31 public health regions that entered into Stage 3 on July 17 and 24, 2020.
“While more restaurants, theatres and businesses can hang up their Open for Business sign, we’re asking everyone to follow public health advice and act responsibly,” said Premier Doug Ford. “We have made tremendous progress that allows us to return to something a little closer to our normal lives this summer, but we are not out of the woods yet. This virus is still among us and we have to be extra cautious to avoid sparking a surge or an outbreak. I strongly urge everyone to continue following public health protocols.”
The number of new cases in Ontario continue to decline, and this morning the provincial health minister Christine Elliott tweeted, “Today, Ontario is reporting 76 new cases of #COVID19, a 0.2% increase and the lowest day-over-day increase since March 22. Hospitalizations, ICU admissions and vented patients have all declined. The province processed over 27,300 tests yesterday.” She further wrote on Twitter, “Today, we announced that Toronto and Peel regions will move into Stage 3 on Friday at 12:01 a.m. I’d also like to acknowledge the considerable and ongoing work by Windsor-Essex public health officials to contain the virus locally. You have our full support.”
Windsor-Essex County Health Unit region will remain in Stage 2. Ontario will continue to monitor local trends of key public health indicators in the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit region and move it into Stage 3 when it is safe to do so. In the interim, the government continues to address the needs of the region, in partnership with other levels of government, through measures such as on-farm testing, the deployment of mobile testing units and the adoption of new public health guidance for positive asymptomatic workers for all workplaces.
Ontario is also supportive of proposals made by the City of Toronto and Toronto Public Health relating to restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments that are permitted to be open. For more information on the restrictions that will remain in place during Stage 3, as well as the public health and workplace safety restrictions necessary to keep people safe, visit Ontario.ca/reopen.
For regions in Stage 3, gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 50 people indoors and a maximum of 100 people outdoors, with physical distancing in place. Gathering limits apply to all social gatherings and events, as well as some higher risk activities and venues. Gathering limits do not apply to settings such as restaurants and bars, however, these settings must be configured so that patrons seated at different tables are separated by a distance of at least two metres, plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier.
Source Government of Ontario | Cover Photo: Chuck Gallozzi from Pixabay