Ford in favour of Toronto's recommendation to open outdoor patios and fitness

Mar 18 2021, 10:41 am

Premier Doug Ford said he is in favour of Toronto and Peel reopening outdoor dining and fitness while both regions remain in the Grey Zone.

On Thursday, Ford responded to requests made by the medical officers of health for Toronto, Dr. Eileen de Villa, and Peel, Dr. Lawrence Loh, to reopen outdoor dining and fitness as the warmer weather approaches.

The premier noted that both doctors are currently in talks with Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, who ultimately has the final say.

“Would I be in favour of people getting outside and getting some fresh air? Absolutely,” Ford said.

“But again I’m sticking by what I’ve said from the beginning, sticking with the health and the science, and if all three doctors agree then we’ll take their advice and move forward.”

Ford noted that he is also taking in the mayors’ considerations, as they play a “critical role” in the decision-making process.

“If the mayors of Brampton, Caledon, Mississauga, and Toronto all want this then we’ll move forward on it.”

During a press conference on Wednesday, Mayor John Tory and Dr. Eileen de Villa said the city would not move into further reopening. Instead, they suggested to the province to reopen outdoor dining and fitness as the warmer weather approaches.

On March 8, Toronto entered the Grey Zone of Ontario’s reopening framework. The next stage would be the Red Zone, which de Villa said Toronto’s data could not support at this time.

In the Grey Zone designation, retail can reopen with 25% capacity, but all other non-essential businesses must remain closed. Indoor gatherings are not permitted, but groups of 10 people can meet outdoors distanced. All recreation and event spaces are still closed.

A formal decision will be made on Friday.

Clarrie FeinsteinClarrie Feinstein

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