Ontario Premier Doug Ford said that later this week next steps for the economic framework will be released, giving clear guidelines for specific sectors on how workers and residents can be safe while operating during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Tuesday, Ford said specific labour guidelines will be provided based on “the best medical and scientific advice available.”
He said the government has a path forward to reopen the economy and the framework is just the beginning.
“In the coming weeks as more work places open up, having clear safety guidelines in place will be critical to keeping the virus at bay,” Ford said.
While the premier would not remark on which sectors within the economy he was talking about specifically, he said it will focus on how businesses can operate “safely in the new reality.”
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On Monday, Ford unveiled the economic plan’s three stages.
The first stage will be for businesses that were ordered to close or restrict operations, opening select workplaces that can immediately modify operations to meet public health guidance. Opening some outdoor spaces like parks and allowing for a greater number of individuals to attend some events.
The second stage will be opening more workplaces, based on risk assessments, which may include some service industries and additional office and retail workplaces. Some larger public gatherings would be allowed, and more outdoor spaces would open.
And the third stage, will open of all workplaces responsibly and further relaxing of restrictions on public gatherings.
It is in this stage that “large public gatherings such as concerts and sporting events will continue to be restricted for the foreseeable future.”
Throughout each stage, continued protections for vulnerable populations must be in place, along with the continued practice of physical distancing, hand washing and respiratory hygiene, and significant mitigation plans to limit health risks.
Ford said that the government will consider important factors, such as the risk of the spread of the virus and the ability to implement protective measures to keep workplaces safe, in order to reopen the economy.
The Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will provide advice to the government about easing public health measures using a range of set criteria, including a consistent two-to-four week decrease in the number of new daily coronavirus cases.
Also, a sufficient acute and critical care capacity, including access to ventilators and ongoing availability of personal protective equipment.
And, approximately 90% of new coronavirus contacts are being reached by local public health officials within one day, with guidance and direction to contain community spread as well as ongoing testing of suspected virus cases, especially of vulnerable populations.
There is no set date for when the economy will reopen Ford said, but in the coming weeks more information will be made available.