Toronto will be entering Stage 3 of Ontario’s reopening plans this Friday.
According to the Government of Ontario, additional businesses and public spaces will be reopening as the province allows the City of Toronto and Peel Region to move into Stage 3 of reopening the province on Friday, July 31 at 12:01 am.
This decision was made in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and local medical officers of health and is based on positive local trends of key public health indicators, including lower transmission of COVID-19, ongoing hospital capacity, public health capacity to conduct rapid case and contact management, and a significant increase in testing.
“While more restaurants, theatres and businesses can hang up their Open for Business sign, we’re asking everyone to follow public health advice and act responsibly,” said Premier Doug Ford in a release.
“We have made tremendous progress that allows us to return to something a little closer to our normal lives this summer, but we are not out of the woods yet. This virus is still among us and we have to be extra cautious to avoid sparking a surge or an outbreak. I strongly urge everyone to continue following public health protocols.”
For regions in Stage 3, gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 50 people indoors and a maximum of 100 people outdoors, with physical distancing in place.
As Toronto reopens, stand together and support local businesses. Help others discover your favourite local businesses. Share their names and use the hashtags: #ShopLocalTO #SaveLocalTO pic.twitter.com/XVwGxqxoN8
— City of Toronto (@cityoftoronto) July 29, 2020
Proposals from the City of Toronto and Toronto Public Health, if adopted, would further limit close contact and interaction in restaurants, bars, and other food or drink establishments. This includes further restrictions on movement/seating and maintaining client logs to support case and contact tracing and limit the spread of the virus, according to the province.
“Ontario is also supportive of proposals made by the City of Toronto and Toronto Public Health relating to restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments that are permitted to be open,” said the province.
Mayor John Tory welcomed the announcement this morning, but stressed that the city isn’t out of the woods yet.
“The hard work really begins now. When you get down to the stage where you have one new case on a given day, which was the case yesterday, there’s only one direction to go and you don’t want to go in that direction,” the mayor said during a press conference, asking Torontonian to remain vigilant.
“Making sure we continue to follow the public health advice in the light of the new freedoms granted by Stage 3 is crucially important.”
Today, the province announced that Toronto would be moving to Stage 3 on Friday. This is the right decision and great news for our city. But COVID-19 doesn’t go away in Stage 3. pic.twitter.com/S2Sc7pToZm
— John Tory (@JohnTory) July 29, 2020
In a report submitted to city council on Tuesday, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, recommended multiple enhanced public health safety measures for when the province moves Toronto into Stage 3 of re-opening and in case of a second wave of COVID-19.
This includes 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 establishments must record the contact information of patrons and provide this information to Toronto Public Health as needed for contact tracing.“We need to do everything we can to stop the spread of COVID-19 right now, as we move into Stage 3, and in the event of a second wave,” Mayor John Tory said. “The measures proposed today put us in a better position to quickly and safely respond to whatever comes next.”
The changes don’t stop at restaurants as there’s also a recommendation for the creation of a temporary bylaw mandating that face masks or coverings must be worn in the common areas of apartment and condominium buildings.
Windsor-Essex County Health Unit region will remain in Stage 2. The province said it will continue to monitor local trends of key public health indicators in the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit region and move it into Stage 3 when it is safe to do so.
Toronto Public Health reported one new COVID-19 case on Tuesday.
In total, the city has 15,338 cases of the coronavirus with 1,152 deaths. Currently, 90 remain hospitalized and 13,785 have recovered — 13 since Monday.
It has also reported two new deaths in Tuesday’s update.