Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced on Monday that 24 regions in the province could move into the next stage of reopening on Friday, July 17, at 12:01 am.
Stage 3 allows for more workplaces and venues to reopen, as permitted gatherings increase to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.
In this next stage, dine-in restaurants, bars, gyms, fitness centres, live shows, performing arts centres, casinos, concert venues, recreational facilities, team sports, fundraisers, fairs, festivals or open houses, and tour and guide services can reopen.
However, in Toronto, festivals have been cancelled until September 30.
Ford added that there are 170 workplace resources to help these businesses reopen.
Also, childcare centres and home child care providers across Ontario will be able to continue to operate with strict safety and operational requirements in place.
Beginning July 27, childcare centres will be permitted to operate with cohorts of 15 children, which is an increase from the current cohort cap of 10.
On Monday, Education Minister Stephen Lecce said this change will allow parents to return to work, and bring the childcare sector to approximately 90% of its operating capacity before the pandemic.
However, it’s important to note that many places can’t reopen yet, like amusement parks.
Other services and workplaces that are not permitted to open in Stage 3 include: buffet-style food services; dancing at restaurants and bars; overnight stays at camps for children; private karaoke rooms; prolonged or deliberate contact while playing sports; saunas, steam rooms, bathhouses, and oxygen bars; and table games at casinos and gaming establishments.
The Chief Medical Officer of Health and public health experts advised these as being “high-risk” places and activities, due to the likelihood of large crowds congregating, difficulties with physical distancing, or challenges maintaining the proper cleaning and sanitation required to prevent the spread of the virus.
While 24 regions will enter Stage 3 by the end of the week, Toronto, York, Peel, Durham, Halton, Niagara, Lambton, and Windsor-Essex entered Stage 2 at a later date.
According to the province, the following public health unit regions will be allowed to move into Stage 3 first on July 17:
- Algoma Public Health
- Brant County Health Unit
- Chatham-Kent Public Health
- Eastern Ontario Health Unit
- Grey Bruce Health Unit
- Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit
- Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
- Huron Perth Public Health
- Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health
- Leeds Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
- Middlesex-London Health Unit
- North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit
- Northwestern Health Unit
- Ottawa Public Health
- Peterborough Public Health
- Porcupine Health Unit
- Public Health Sudbury & Districts
- Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services
- Renfrew County and District Health Unit
- Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit
- Southwestern Public Health
- Thunder Bay District Health Unit
- Timiskaming Health Unit
- Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health
At the beginning of each week, the province will continue to reassess local trends in public health indicators, including rates of transmission, hospital capacity, progress on testing and contact tracing, to determine if additional public health unit regions can progress to Stage 3.