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Ontario will reveal stage one of province's reopening plan despite top doctor saying we're not ready
TORONTO -- Ontario Premier Doug Ford will announce details about stage one of the province's reopening plan on Thursday despite the province’s top doctor saying that we’re not ready to enter that phase yet.
"I'm confident we can move forward," Ford said at Queen's Park on Tuesday. "On Thursday, we will share more details about the next stage of reopening our province."
Ford said the province will allow more low-risk workplaces, seasonal businesses and essential services to reopen but has not provided any specifics. His office confirmed to CTV News Toronto a specific list of new businesses that can reopen will be released Thursday.
Ford said that as of Thursday, Ontario will "hit stage one" in the recovery framework, alluding to the possibility of moving forward with reopening the economy this week. His office later clarified the statement, saying that on Thursday the premier will only be providing details on "what stage one will look like when we get to that point."
In late April, the provincial government unveiled a three-step plan to gradually reopen the economy. In stage one of the recovery plan, select workplaces can reopen and some small gatherings would be allowed.
Under the current emergency order, gatherings of more than five people, not from the same household, are illegal.
Stage one also allows some outdoor spaces to reopen, such as parks, and allowing for "greater number of individuals" to attend some events, such as funerals. Hospitals can begin to offer some non-urgent surgeries and other health-care services.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday afternoon, Ontario’s Chief Medical of Health, Dr. David Williams, said that while the province is at "day seven or day eight of a downward trend" he's not confident that we’re ready for stage one of the recovery phase.
"I would have recommended it if we were already there but we haven’t (got there) yet," Williams said. "We're in a downward trend … unfortunately not a very rapid downward trend but is trending that way and our other metrics are looking good."
"But we haven't had all those things come together yet where you would say that now we are ready to enter stage one. I think we are getting closer in that but if were already there I would have already recommended it."
Each of the three stages will be monitored by health officials for two to four weeks. In stage two, Ontario would open even more workplaces and outdoor spaces and allow larger gatherings.
When the province reaches stage three, the government will relax restrictions further on public gatherings and open all workplaces.
Large public gatherings, such as concerts and sporting events will continue to be restricted for "the foreseeable future."