Doug Ford says Ontario might reopen economy sooner than planned
As Ontario prepares to enter Step 2 of the provincial government's 3-step ropening plan on Wednesday, Premier Doug Ford has given businesses and residents hope that restrictions may loosen further and earlier than anticipated in the coming weeks.
Speaking to reporters on Monday afternoon, Ford said that he wants to get things open as quickly as possible and that he believes it will be "sooner rather than later" based on the latest COVID stats, which today yet again hit a low not seen for nine months, with just 210 new cases of reported provincewide.
"The only few things that aren't open are indoor dining, which is going to happen, casinos, and strip joints," Ford said to a question about Step 3, which the province has already well surpassed the vaccination rate to move into as planned.
"I'll be honest with you, everything else seems to be moving forward."
Ford points to indoor dining, casinos and strip joints as examples of what still isn't open. "Everyone else's perception that I get to snap my fingers and get it done." Says he has to follow the direction of the Chief Medical Officer.— Mark McAllister (@McAllister_Mark) June 28, 2021
He added that he will of course be consulting with health officials including our new Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore, about shedding more health and safety measures and ending long-running business closures.
"There’s no one that wants to open this province up more than I do, we’re very very close," he said. "If [Dr. Kieran] gives us the green light, then let's get this province open and start moving. I can’t wait, I really can’t."
The Roadmap to Reopen, announced on May 20, dictates that there must be at least 21 days between each step, which all regions of the province will progress through based on vaccination rates, daily case numbers, ICU admissions and other key health indicators pertaining to the virus.
But, after commencing Step 1 earlier than proposed, Ford and his team decided to likewise begin Step 2 a few days early, and have called the 21 day rule "approximate."
Ford says he needs to balance economy & health care, says we’re 90% there, and need to reopen safely.— Laura Stone (@l_stone) June 28, 2021
There is also the fact that part of the province won't be entering Step 2 with the rest of us — the region of Waterloo — a move that was not accounted for as an option in the original framework.
Ford did state today that regional differences as far as reopening is concerned may continue, including with the region of Simcoe-Muskoka, which he may "split up" due to the prevalence of the Delta variant in some parts of it.
Hector Vasquez at La Palma
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