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

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

Nanaimo-Ladysmith students will be going back to school full time in the fall in ‘learning groups’

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools to submit back-to-school plan to ministry in August

LMS hosts virtual Kids’ Pirate Event in late August

Kids’ Pirate Event will feature five days of online content

Milestone Equipment Contracting on the job of Chemainus Road Corridor Upgrade

Project intricacies will now start to take shape in the weeks ahead

Starvation claims Great Blue Heron in Crofton

No other contributing factors found in death during a necropsy

Crews work overnight to try to put out wildfire on Pender Island

Fire department and B.C. Wildfire Service crews extinguishing fire in ‘extremely difficult terrain’

Cooler days help crews fighting fire on mountainside southwest of Nanaimo

Firefighters making progress, but it’s ‘slow-going,’ says B.C. Wildfire Service

Crews work overnight to try to put out wildfire on Pender Island

Fire department and B.C. Wildfire Service crews extinguishing fire in ‘extremely difficult terrain’

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

Most Read