Seven more regions in Ontario entered Stage 3 of reopening on Friday, which includes workplaces like gyms, bars, and spas.
On Monday, Premier Doug Ford announced that Durham, Halton, Hamilton, Niagara, Haldimand-Norfolk, Sarnia-Lambton and York regions would be joining the 24 other regions that entered the third and final stage on July 17.
In Stage 3, 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.
And, groups of 50 can congregate indoors and 100 can meet outdoors.
“While we want as many people back to work and taking home a paycheque again as possible, it’s important for everyone ― no matter what stage your community is in ― to remain on guard and keep following the public health advice. By working together, we can keep new case numbers down and ensure all of Ontario can enter Stage 3 when it’s safe to do so,” Ford said on Monday.
That just leaves Toronto, Peel, and Windsor-Essex behind.
Since these three regions were the last to enter Stage 2, it seems to fall into alignment with the province’s regional reopening plan, to wait the full four weeks before these three regions can enter the third and final stage.
According to Health Minister Christine Elliott, officials need about four weeks of data to decide whether it is safe to proceed to the next stage in any given region.
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Toronto and Peel regions only entered Stage 2 on June 24, so there won’t be four weeks of data available until Friday to evaluate.
Ontario will continue to assess trends in the public health indicators to determine when these final public health unit regions can progress to Stage 3.
The Chief Medical Officer of Health and public health experts also continue to closely monitor the evolving situation to advise when public health restrictions can be further loosened or if they need to be tightened.
“Building on the success of the regional approach in the previous two stages and based on the positive public health trends we are seeing, we are ready to move more regions across the province into Stage 3,” said Elliott on Monday.
“Entering Stage 3 does not mean the fight against COVID-19 is over. 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.”
Toronto has a seven day moving average of 38 cases with the three regions still accounting for most of the province’s daily coronavirus case count.
Mayor John Tory sent a letter to the province asking for more enhanced restrictions for when bars and restaurants can reopen, due to possible increase of cases.