Restaurants and hair salons can reopen in parts of Ontario this week but not Toronto
Shopping malls, public pools, barber shops, beaches, beauty salons and the outdoor dining areas of restaurants will all be permitted to reopen in Ontario this Friday, June 12 — and those are just a few of the many services residents can expect to enjoy once again under Stage 2 of the province's economic reopening program.
Unless, of course, said residents live in Toronto, Hamilton, Niagara or anywhere near the American border.
Yeah, the whole "regional approach" to reopening — a concept that, prior to May 29, Premier Doug Ford had vehemently refused to even consider — is happening.
"No one wants to get the economy going and get people going back to work more than I do," said Ford during his daily press conference at Queen's Park Monday afternoon.
"And that means having a responsible plan. It means taking the best scientific advice and working together with our partners. It means recognizing that the situation is different in different parts of Ontario."
#BREAKING: Almost entire province can move to stage 2 Friday...patios, barber shops, hair salons, beauty salons can open, camping can resume, outdoor facilities can open, tattoo parlours, swimming pools, splash pads & more...details below. GTA won't be able to do so yet. #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/gNqStnEnK0— Travis Dhanraj (@Travisdhanraj) June 8, 2020
Ford went on to say that "most regions in Ontario" would be allowed to proceed to Stage 2 this Friday, June 12, but that ten of the province's 34 public health unit regions would be held back due to safety concerns.
Being that Greater Toronto Area public health units are now responsible for more than two thirds of all COVID-19 patients in Ontario, Toronto Public Health didn't make the cut for Stage 2. Neither did the York, Peel, Durham, Halton or Hamilton regions.
Officials will, however, be reevaluating the 10 lagging regions (a full map and list of which can be found here) every week to see if they meet the criteria to proceed to Stage 2.
"In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and local health officials, the government is easing restrictions in communities where it is safe to do so, based on trends of key public health indicators such as lower rates of transmission, increased capacity in hospitals, and progress made in testing," reads a government release explaining the strategy.
"Everyone, regardless of where they live in the province, must continue to follow public health advice, including to practise physical distancing, wear a face covering if physical distancing is a challenge, wash hands frequently and thoroughly, and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth."
Effective June 12th, our government will ease the following restrictions:— Doug Ford (@fordnation) June 8, 2020
• Increase social gatherings from 5 to 10 ppl
• Places of worship can open at 30% capacity
• Regional-based reopening (Phase 2, Stage 2)
Learn more: https://t.co/mmD8H4japt
After three months of living without restaurants, bars, hair salons or any of the other once underappreciated services reopening in Stage 2, Toronto residents are understandably ticked about being forced to wait — but public health officials maintain that it's necessary to quash the threat of COVID-19.
Fortunately, all residents of the province can enjoy the government's expansion of gathering limits from five to 10 people at a time.
Places of worship can also reopen in all parts of Ontario, though attendance is limited to 30 per cent of the building's capacity.
"We will continue to keep a close eye on regions that will not open this Friday, and we need just a little more time," said Ford on Monday.
"We will continue talking to local officials who are playing a critical role in determining which areas can reopen, and I'm confined that the rest of the province will get to Stage 2 very, very soon."
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