Toronto expecting to move into Stage 2 of reopening this week
When will Toronto enter Stage 2 of the economic reopening process?
It's something that the people of Canada's largest city have been aching to know since June 8, when the province announced that 24 of its 34 public health regions would be allowed to move forward with the next phase of reopening, while 10 (Toronto included) would be held back.
Last Monday, seven more regions got the go-ahead to roeopen restaurant patios, hair salons and a whole host of other services permitted under Stage 2, leaving only Toronto, Peel and Windsor-Essex behind.
Government officials are set to provide the results of their weekly reassessments of the regions still stuck in Stage 1 this afternoon, based on the respective COVID-19 situations in each region.
If all goes well, Premier Doug Ford will give Toronto the green light to reopen during his daily pandemic press conference around 1 p.m. on Monday, paving the way for Stage 2 businesses to reopen this Friday, June 26.
bring on the hair cuts ( i saw a few places installing plexiglass this week ) https://t.co/plY2ORWVZx— rachel mcmillan (@rachkmc) June 21, 2020
Toronto Mayor John Tory, for one, is "very optimistic" about our prospects.
"I think it is going to happen this week. That's my own prediction and it is not based on an inside secret," said Tory to CP24 on Sunday.
"I just think the numbers have headed strongly in the right direction consistently now for two weeks and so I think everybody now is going to be in agreement that it is time."
Indeed, active cases of COVID-19 have been plummeting across the province as recovery rates and tests-per-day simultaneously soar.
The public is also growing increasingly restless as the weather continues to warm up, their behaviour suggesting that overall compliance with social distancing orders is waning.
@fordnation I honestly don't think Toronto should move into stage 2 as yet from my perspective.. Look at the reckless behaviour on Saturday night at Woodbine Beach.. Imagine going to stage two what they will do.. Last Saturday I was Bloor Street it was packed.— vijen (@vijensylva) June 22, 2020
It's been three months since Ford first declared a province-wide state of emergency in response to COVID-19, mandating the closures of bars, clubs, restaurants, non-essential retail stores, park amenities and all types of personal care providers.
While some of these service types have since been permitted to reopen (either under Stage 1 or through other updates to current emergency orders), many residents are eager to get their hair cut or eat dinner out with friends again, even if that means they need to choose "patio" every single time.
"We are close, so let's not mess it up," said Tory on Sunday to CP24 of Toronto's Stage 2 prospects.
"We just have to then make sure that we stay the course and don't assume that it is kind of time to start huddling together on the beach and being in big crowd scenes," the mayor continued. (Ahem.)
"We could have a return to all of this and I don't think any of us want that."
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