Ontario Premier Doug Ford visits Canadian Hospital Specialities (CHS) helping them take dual COVID-19 testing swab kits and separating them into two units to help with swab capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic in Oakville, Ont., on Monday, June 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Most parts of Ontario outside Toronto-Hamilton area moving to Stage 2 of reopening

Stage 2 will see restaurants and bars allowed to open patios and other outdoor dining

Most Ontario regions outside the Toronto area will be allowed to open more businesses and activities Friday, including restaurant patios, hair salons and swimming pools as the province takes a regional approach to reopening.

But provincewide on Friday, the limit on social gatherings will increase from five to 10, though the government says people must still stay two metres away from anyone outside their own household.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said officials have floated the idea of “bubbling,” which would let people in two households be in close contact with each other, but the chief medical officer of health doesn’t feel Ontario is ready for that yet.

As well, across Ontario on Friday, all places of worship can reopen as long as attendance is limited to 30 per cent of the building’s capacity and physical distancing measures are in place.

Otherwise, current restrictions will stay in place for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, which has a high concentration of the province’s COVID-19 cases, border regions such as Windsor-Essex, Lambton County and Niagara and Haldimand-Norfolk, which has seen an outbreak among migrant workers.

“For the regions that must wait a little longer, I ask you: please remain patient,” Premier Doug Ford said. “We will get there soon.”

For all other areas, Stage 2 on Friday will see restaurants and bars allowed to open patios and other outdoor dining.

The province also announced Monday it will let licensed establishments set up a new patio or expand an existing one without requiring an application or fee.

Tours will be allowed to resume, such as biking, walking, bus and boat tours, along with tastings and tours at wineries, breweries and distilleries.

Some outdoor activities can reopen, such as recreational facilities and training for outdoor team sports, camping at private campgrounds, beach access and additional camping at Ontario Parks, splash pads and wading pools, and all swimming pools. Playgrounds won’t be open until stage three.

READ MORE: Pandemic reveals inequalities in who can work from home

Ford said that people in Stage 1 regions could travel to Stage 2 regions for activities such as camping, but a spokeswoman for Finance Minister Rod Phillips sent a statement shortly after, suggesting the opposite.

“The government urges caution regarding unnecessary travel, especially from higher transmission areas (regions in Stage 1) to lower transmission areas (regions in Stage 2),” Emily Hogeveen wrote.

“In general, people should preferentially stay home and not travel recognizing that there may be limited, essential reasons to do so.”

Tattoo parlours, barber shops, hair salons and beauty salons allowed to reopen with health and safety measures in place, but not for services for someone’s face such as facials, eyebrow grooming and makeup. Steam rooms, saunas and baths must stay closed.

Ford said he would announce a plan Tuesday to reopen child care centres to support parents returning to work.

The government is promising to update the public at the beginning of each week on its assessment of whether those regions would be ready to move to Stage 2 by the end of that week.

Elliott said officials are still looking for numbers of new cases to drop, and hospital capacity to continue to increase.

Ontario reported 243 new COVID-19 cases Monday, and 24 more deaths. That brings the province to a total of 30,860 cases — an increase of 0.8 per cent over the previous day, which is the lowest growth rate since early March.

The total includes 2,450 deaths and 24,492 cases that have been resolved — 240 more than the previous day.

Ontario also reported another drop in the number of people in hospital — from 635 to 603 — a trend over the past several days. One week ago there were about 800 people in hospital with COVID-19 and at the end of last month it was around 900.

The number of people on ventilators also dropped from 92 to 81, though the number of people in intensive care rose slightly.

Ontario’s document laying out Stage 2 details also revealed more about what will be allowed in an eventual Stage 3, including restaurants and bars for dine-in services, performing arts shows and cinemas with limited seating capacity, casinos, gyms, and amusement parks.

Even in Stage 3, the government will recommend remote work continue wherever possible.

Allison Jones, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusOntario

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Column: One parenting book certainly doesn’t fit all

Like the fingerprints they are born with – each child is different.… Continue reading

Influx of tourists helping to nurse Penticton’s economy back to health

The city has seen visitors multiply tenfold in recent weeks

Two vehicle crash on Highway 97 in Penticton

The crash happened before 3:30 p.m. in front of the Lakeside Inn and Suites

Pooch abandoned at Penticton doggy daycare suffered from oral disease

A fundraiser for Okie held by the BC SPCA surpassed its goal of $1,700

Keremeos Volunteer Fire Department receives $25k grant

Money used on a truck with low volume, high pressure water pump to fight wildfires

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

‘Made in the Cowichan Valley’ coming to a wine bottle near you

Cowichan Valley has the honour of being the first sub-GI outside of the Okanagan

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

COVID-19 cases identified in Kelowna, after public gatherings

Those who were downtown or at the waterfront from June 25 to July 6 maybe have been exposed to COVID-19.

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Most Read