stage 2 ontario

Toronto is now one of only 3 regions not allowed to enter Stage 2 of reopening

Premier Doug Ford just announced the addition of seven regions to Ontario's list of areas allowed to enter Stage 2 of the reopening process, meaning that thousands of restaurant, bar, hair salon and other "non-essential" business employees will be getting back to work as early as this Friday. 

The public health regions of Durham, Hamilton, York, Halton, Niagara, Haldimand-Norfork and Sarnia Lambton-Kent are all approved to begin the next phase of economic reopening as of June 19 at midnight, joining 24 regions that were given the green light to reopen on June 12.

These regions were selected due to "positive trends of key public health indicators at the local level," including lower rates of COVID-19 transmission, sufficient hospital and public health capacities and rapid contact management capabilities.

Toronto, Peel and Windsor-Essex, on the other hand, will remain in Stage 1 until their COVID situations improve.

"Over the weekend, our team crunched the numbers… our Chief Medical Officer of Health and command table reviewed the data and provided the recommendations," said Ford during his daily pandemic press conference Monday afternoon.

"For the regions still remaining in Stage 1 — Toronto, Peel and Windsor-Essex — we ask you to please be patient because we can't let our guard down."

Ford was unable to say when these regions could expect to move forward with reopening, but he did remind residents that the government is performing weekly assessments in hopes of opening all of them "very, very soon."

Fortunately, public health trends across the province are moving in the right direction: Only 184 new cases of the viral disease were confirmed this morning, marking the lowest day-over-day increase we've seen in Ontario since March.

Regardless of where they live, the provincial government says that all Ontarians "must continue to follow public health advice, including practising physical distancing, wearing a face covering if physical distancing is a challenge, washing hands frequently and thoroughly, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth."

Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 or who has been in contact with someone infected should get tested at an assessment centre.

"Opening more regions of Ontario is another positive sign that we are making steady progress in our collective efforts to contain this deadly virus," said Health Minister Christine Elliott of the move on Monday.

"As many more Ontarians begin to work, shop and interact with others, it's never been more important that we continue to follow public health advice, especially physical distancing with anyone outside of our social circle, so we can soon successfully and safely move into Stage 3."

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