Ontario allows more regions to advance to Stage 3 this Friday
TORONTO -- A number of Ontario regions will advance to Stage 3 of the province’s reopening plan this Friday but Toronto, Peel and Windsor are still excluded.
Durham, Halton, Hamilton, Niagara, Haldimand-Norfolk, Lambton and York regions will be given the green light to enter Stage 3 this Friday.
However, Toronto, Peel and Windsor-Essex will be held back in Stage 2 for at least one more week, as the province waits for four full weeks of COVID-19 data from the re-opening.
"It's a clear sign that we're making steady progress," Premier Doug Ford said Monday. "Tens of thousands of people are getting back to work. But we can't stop. And we won't rest until all of Ontario gets to stage three. We won't stop until every worker in Ontario gets back to work and back on their feet."
Ford has urged the regions not moving forward to Stage 3 to be "patient" and that those regions will "get there very shortly."
On Monday, health officials in Ontario reported a slight decrease in new COVID-19 cases following a weekend that saw new case numbers climb to the 160s.
The 135 new cases added Monday morning bring the provincial total to 37,739 and represents a 0.4 per cent increase over Sunday’s total when 164 cases were added.
Most of the new cases added today were reported in Toronto, Peel Region and Windsor-Essex, all of which are regions not included in the latest stage of reopening.
Social gathering limits in Stage 3
For the regions who have moved forward to Stage 3, there has been significant increase to social gathering limits.
Indoor gathering limits increase from 10 to a maximum of 50 people, while outdoor gathering limits increase to a maximum of 100 people.
Physical distancing is still required during any gathering with people from outside an individual's social circle. The province is not increasing the number of people a person can gather with without physical distancing measures in place.
What still can't open in Stage 3?
The government has banned a number of high-risk businesses and activities from resuming in Stage 3, including amusement parks, water parks, buffet-style food services, dancing in restaurants and bars, overnight stays at camps for children, private karaoke rooms, prolonged or deliberate contact while playing sports, saunas, steam rooms, bath houses and oxygen bars.
Nightclubs are still banned from reopening, except for the purpose of serving food or drinks.
Casinos will be allowed to reopen but table games are banned.
Meanwhile, all restaurants, bars, concession stands, and other food and drink establishments are allowed to reopen for indoor dining in Stage 3.
Gyms and fitness studios can also reopen with safety protocols in place. Organized sports can also resume, with the exception of contact sports. Playgrounds, community centres and libraries will also reopen.
The province will also allow personal support services to resume that involve a customers' face, such as facials and some piercings.
Why didn't Toronto move forward to Stage 3 last Friday?
Health Minister Christine Elliott said that the province needed more COVID-19 data from the regions who are not heading into Stage 3 before a decision can be made about moving forward.
"There are several other communities that moved into Stage 2 before Toronto did,” Elliott said. “We expect that will happen in the same way because the chief medical officer of health and the public health experts need to see about four weeks of data to understand what is going on locally, to make sure there are no further public health concerns.”
"We expect that the next group will be the second group that moved to Stage 2 will be the second group to move to Stage 3 just because of the time frames that have elapsed and then Toronto will follow."
Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams, said he hopes all regions will enter Stage 3 by the end of July.
These are the regions moving or have moved to Stage 3:
- Durham Region Health Department (Friday)
- York Region Public Health (Friday)
- Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit (Friday)
- Halton Region Public Health (Friday)
- Hamilton Public Health Services (Friday)
- Lambton Public Health (Friday)
- Niagara Region Public Health (Friday)
- Algoma Public Health
- Brant County Health Unit
- Chatham-Kent Public HealthEastern Ontario Health Unit
- Grey Bruce Health Unit
- Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit
- Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
- Huron Perth Public Health
- Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health
- Leeds Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
- Middlesex-London Health Unit
- North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit
- Northwestern Health Unit
- Ottawa Public Health
- Peterborough Public Health
- Porcupine Health Unit
- Public Health Sudbury & Districts
- Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services
- Renfrew County and District Health Unit
- Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit
- Southwestern Public Health
- Thunder Bay District Health Unit
- Timiskaming Health Unit
- Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health
These are the regions in Stage 2:
- Peel Public Health
- Toronto Public Health
- Windsor-Essex County Health Unit