Toronto, Peel, and Windsor-Essex Stays in Stage 2 As Remaining Regions Approved for Stage 3 Reopening

In the latest updates from the Premier Doug Ford and the Ontario Government, Toronto, Peel Region (which includes Brampton, Mississauga, and Caledon), and the Windsor-Essex regions are to stay in Stage 2 of reopening while the remaining regions have been approved for Stage 3.

On Monday afternoon, Premier Doug Ford announced that the following regions in Ontario can enter Stage 3 of the province’s reopening and recovery plan on Friday, July 24, 2020: 

  • York Region
  • Durham Region
  • Halton Region
  • Hamilton
  • Niagara Region
  • Haldimand-Norfolk
  • Lambton

These regions will now join the list of 31 out of 34 Ontario public health units that have been given the green light to move into Stage 3 of reopening with increased loosening of public health safety measures. 

With the announcements from the Ontario government today, it appears that Toronto, Peel Region and Windsor-Essex regions once again are the last three regions to move to the next stages. 

Premier Ford said the decision was made with the advice from health officials and public health units which continue to report spikes in new COVID-19 cases in these three regions. 

Reassuring people living in these regions, Premier Ford emphasized his commitment to working with the communities and his hopes to have these regions reopen soon. 

“For the other regions who entered Stage 2 later in the process, please be patient, we’ll get there very shortly,” said Premier Doug Ford.

“We’re working with communities across the province to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and help more businesses safely and responsibly hang up their ‘Open for Business’ sign,” added the Premier.

What to expect when all of Ontario is in Stage 3 of Reopening

Alongside increased gathering limits both indoors and outdoors, Stage 3 of reopening will see the province loosen other public health safety measures and support the reopening of more businesses. 

As mentioned, the Ontario government has announced that gathering limits will be increased to 50 people when indoors and a maximum of 100 people outdoors when a region enters Stage 3. 

The catch, however, is that individuals will still be required to maintain physical distancing especially with people from outside their circle group which continues to be capped at 10 people per circle group. 

Additionally, as part of Stage 3 reopening measures, indoor dining at restaurants and bars (except for buffets) will now be permitted to resume. 

Restaurants and bars in the area will be required to alter the layout of the seating arrangements to account for physical distancing of at least two metres between customers. 

Attractions such as galleries, zoos, museums, movie theatres, and performing arts venues will also be allowed to reopen under Stage 3 measures. 

This also includes the reopening of convention centres, live shows, as well as playgrounds in approved regions. 

Also, gyms will finally be able to reopen under Stage 3 approval, with the indoor gathering limit applying to gyms.

While gym staff and trainers are not counted towards the gathering limit of 50 people indoors, gyms will be required to allow people to maintain physical distance as well as clean equipment between each user at the gym. 

According to a press release from the Ontario government, all businesses and activities can reopen except for the following: 

  • Amusement parks and water parks
  • Buffet-style food services
  • Dancing at restaurants and bars, other than by performers
  • Overnight stays at camps for children
  • Private karaoke rooms
  • Saunas, steam rooms, bathhouses and oxygen bars
  • Table games at casinos

Ontario’s COVID-19 Updates

While a majority of regions in Ontario have moved on to Stage 3 of reopening, both Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliot emphasized the importance of remaining vigilant and following public health advice such as wearing masks and physically distancing. 

“Entering Stage 3 does not mean the fight against COVID-19 is over,” said Health Minister Christine Elliott.

“We all must remain vigilant and continue following public health advice to ensure the progress we have made so far in stopping the spread will not be undone.”

Premier Doug Ford echoed the same sentiments saying “We know as a province that we can’t ease up, we can’t give this virus an absolute inch”.

Over the past few weeks through a collaboration between the federal government and the Ontario government, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced a COVID-19 contact tracing app was in the works. 

Through the app, individuals would be alerted if they have been in an area where someone had tested positive for COVID-19 and help individuals reach out to public health units for further testing if required. 

Although the contact tracing app had been delayed, it appears that Premier Ford is hopeful that the COVID-19 contact tracing app will be going public by the end of this week. 

In his daily announcements from Queen’s Park, Toronto, Premier Doug Ford said while the app is set to be released soon, it would not affect the reopening schedule in Ontario.

“What I understand, the app, possibly will be coming out Friday, I hear that from the federal government, but I don’t think that will have anything to do with moving forward for Peel and Windsor and Toronto,” said the Premier.

“But I look forward to getting [the] app.”

Ontario COVID-19 Stats

Confirmed Cases: 37,739

Recovered: 33,513

Deaths: 2,752

Canada COVID-19 Stats:

Confirmed Cases: 110,593 (+286)

Recovered: 97,295 (+246)

Deaths: 8,855 (+3)

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