Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced on Wednesday that Toronto could move into the next stage of reopening on Friday, July 31 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.
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However, in Toronto, festivals have been cancelled until September 30.
The city has also received a series of recommendations from its Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa recommending multiple enhanced public health safety measures for when the province moves Toronto into Stage 3 and in case of a second wave of COVID-19.
During a press conference on Tuesday, one day before the province’s reopening announcement, Mayor John Tory put his support behind the report and many of the recommendations including more indoor capacity and table size limits, mandatory staff screening, patrons remaining seated at all times — except for going to or from the washroom or paying — and that eating establishments must record the contact information of patrons and provide this information to Toronto Public Health as needed for contact tracing.
The report also recommends a stronger push for mobile COVID-19 testing in neighbourhoods where data shows a high incidence of the virus, including northwest Toronto, and for demographic groups suspected of being at higher risk due to the social determinants of health, including occupation.
Childcare centres and home child care providers across Ontario will also be able to continue to operate with strict safety and operational requirements in place.
On July 27, childcare centres were permitted to operate with cohorts of 15 children, which was an increase from the previous cohort cap of 10.
Education Minister Stephen Lecce previously 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.