TORONTO -- Ontario is allowing almost all regions to move forward to the next stage of the province's restart phase on Friday, which allows restaurants, hair salons and malls to reopen, but Toronto is still excluded from the list.

The majority of Ontario's public health unit regions moved forward to Stage 2 last Friday, ending the months-long closure for some businesses crippled financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As of this Friday, the only regions not allowed to move forward to Stage 2 are Toronto, Peel and Windsor-Essex. They will remain in Stage 1 until at least next week, when the province will reassess the data and decide if they are ready to move forward next Friday.

This means that Durham, Halton, York, Hamilton, Lambton, Niagara, Haldimand-Norfolk have been given the green light to continue the reopening process. 

The areas excluded from moving forward to Stage 2 remain the province's COVID-19 hot spots. Ontario reported 181 cases of COVID-19 on Monday, 134 of which were recorded in Toronto, Peel and Windsor-Essex.

"For the regions still staying in Stage 1, Toronto, Peel and Windsor-Essex, we ask you please be patient because we can't let our guard down," Premier Doug Ford said on Monday. 

"But, the good news is, the public health trends across the province are going in the right direction, we are making steady progress."

"If we keep working together, I am hopeful that all communities in Ontario will be able to enter Stage 2 very, very soon."

Meanwhile. Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie released a statement on Monday, agreeing that Peel Region isn't ready to move forward to Stage 2.

"I want to thank Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health and the Premier for taking a cautious, regional approach to reopening," Crombie said. "Unfortunately, case counts and incidence rates across the entire region remain second highest in the province."

Crombie said that if residents continue to be patient she is confident they will get to Stage 2 "sooner rather than later."

Ontario entered Stage 1 of the reopening plan on May 19. Each of the stages will be monitored by health officials for two to four weeks to ensure there isn't a surge in COVID-19 infections.

When Ontario is ready to enter Stage 3, the province will allow all workplaces to reopen and relax restrictions on public gatherings.

It’s important to note that all large public gatherings, such as concerts and sporting events, will be restricted for the "foreseeable future."

Ontario is currently under a state of emergency that is set to expire on June 30.

The province doubled social gathering rules last week, now allowing up to 10 people, who are not from the same household, to get together. The increased social gathering rules apply to the entire province, regardless of whether the region is moving to Stage 2, but physical distancing rules still apply.

The Ford government also introduced the concept of "social circles" on Friday, which allows people to pick an group of up to 10 people where physical distancing measures are not required. 

The public health units not moving to Stage 2:

  • Peel Public Health
  • Toronto Public Health
  • Windsor-Essex County Health Unit

What can reopen in Stage 2?

  • Outdoor dine-in services at restaurants, bars and other establishments, including patios, curbside, parking lots and adjacent properties
  • Daycares, with limits on the number of children at each facility
  • Select personal and personal care services, including tattoo parlours, barber shops, hair salons and beauty salon
  • Shopping malls under existing restrictions, including food services reopening for take-out and outdoor dining only
  • Tour and guide services, such as bike and walking, bus and boat tours, as well as tasting and tours for wineries, breweries and distilleries
  • Water recreational facilities, such as outdoor splash pads and wading pools, and all swimming pools
  • Beach access and additional camping at Ontario Parks
  • Camping at private campgrounds
  • Outdoor-only recreational facilities and training for outdoor team sports, with limits to enable physical distancing
  • Drive-in and drive-through venues for theatres, concerts, animal attractions and cultural appreciation, such as art installations
  • Film and television production activities, with limits to enable physical distancing