Parts of GTHA allowed to move to Ontario's Stage 2 of reopening this week
The Ontario government announced that Toronto must still remain in Stage 1 of reopening the economy, while more surrounding regions in the GTHA are given the green-light to reopen.
On Monday, Premier Doug Ford said that as of Friday June 19 at 12:01 am, Durham, Hamilton, York, Halton, Niagara, Haldimand-Norfolk, and Lambton County can enter Stage 2.
However, Toronto, Peel and Windsor-Essex are still not permitted to enter the next stage.
“Please be patient, we cannot let our guard down,” Ford said. “Trends are going in the right direction. I am hopeful that they will be able to enter Stage 2 very soon.”
The decision was in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and local medical officers of health.
The seven regions that are able to reopen can due to positive trends of key public health indicators at the local level, including lower transmission of COVID-19, sufficient hospital health system capacity, local public health capacity to assist with rapid case and contact management, and a province-wide increase in testing.
These regions are in addition to the 24 public health regions that entered Stage 2 on June 12. Before opening, business owners need to review workplace safety guidelines and public health advice.
“Thanks to the collective efforts of our frontline health care workers and the people in these regions to stop the spread of COVID-19, more businesses will be able to open their doors and thousands of people will be able to go back to work and put food on the table,” said Ford.
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And, as GTHA regions prepare for Stage 2, mayors and chairs in the region care calling for emergency financial support from federal and provincial governments.
“The GTHA municipalities are all committed to a successful restart and recovery but continue to face unprecedented costs responding to COVID-19 and significant revenue losses due to the ongoing pandemic. Municipalities – big and small – across Canada are all facing this financial challenge,” the statement said.
According to the GTHA mayors, meetings are taking place this week between provincial and federal officials on the topic.
The funding is needed to avoid cuts to frontline services or high property tax increases.
On June 5, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau committed $14 billion to help municipalities nationwide, which Ford said “won’t cut it” as Ontario faces a $23 billion revenue loss.
Earlier on Monday, Ontario reported 181 new coronavirus cases, marks the lowest number since March 28, when Ontario reported 151 cases.
The daily cases of been heading in a day-over-day downward trend, not seen since late March.
On June 12, many regions in Ontario entered Stage 2 of reopening, excluding the GTA.