#Ontario; Stage3Reopening, #VastMajorityOfOntario; SafetyProtocols
Ottawa, Jul 14 (Canadian-Media): Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced July 13 during his daily conference that twenty-four regions in Ontario, the vast majority of Ontario would be able to enter Stage 3 this Friday July 17 at 12:01 am.
Doug Ford and Christine Elliott. Image credit: Video grab
Details on the Stage 3 reopening framework were provided by Ford, Christine Elliott, Ontario's Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Rod Phillips, Ontario Minister of Finance, and Stephen Lecce, Ontario Minister of Education.
Ford said the regions which will be excluded in entering Stage 3 include Toronto, York Region, Peel region, Durham region, Niagara, Windsor-Essex, Norfolk and Lambton.
"I want the people of these regions to know that we won't leave anyone behind and we will provide an update every Monday on regional reopenings. We will keep working until every part of this province gets to stage 3. We are moving forward as a province but we can't stop.We won't stop until we get every person in Ontario, until we get every worker in Ontario back to work and back on their feet," said Ford.
Limits on public gatherings in regions as they enter stage 3 would also expand to allow upto 100 people to gather outdoors and upto 50 people indoors and these gatherings must practice physical distancing with those outside their social circle.
"In stage 3 we will also give another boost to our economic region to restart," said Ford and added safety measures and protocols should be kept in mind.
The facilities that will be allowed to open in Stage 3 include dining restaurants; bars, gyms and fitness centres, most fitness care services, live shows performances in arts and movie theatres, casinos, recreational facilities and activities, team sports and live sporting events and tour and guide services, conferences, fundraisers, fairs, festivals or open houses.
Ford said that Ontario has over 170 work place resources available online to help all of these spaces to reopen safely.
"The key part in getting people back to work is to ensure parents, workers have their child support they need... I want to see every child in Ontario practice school full time this September. This is where we are working towards with the support of our Medical Officer of Health and our local school boards and I am confident that we will get there...But we will not take unnecessary risks when it comes to our children and that is why we have to continue playing for every possible scenario to keep our kids safe as we get back to school," said Ford.
To allow parents to return safely to work, beginning on July 27, 2020, child care centres will start operating with cohorts of 15 children, an increase from the current cohort cap of 10.
Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, public health experts and other officials have advised the that some facilities of high-risk places and activities remain closed, even if a region has entered Stage 3, due to the likelihood of large crowds, difficulties with physical distancing, or challenges with health protocols due to COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.
These facilities of high-risk places include amusement parks and water parks; buffet-style food services; dancing at restaurants and bars, other than by performers hired by the establishment; overnight stays at camps for children; private karaoke rooms; prolonged or deliberate contact while playing sports; saunas, steam rooms, bath houses and oxygen bars; table games at casinos and gaming establishments.
The public health unit regions which will be allowed to move into Stage 3 first, on Friday, July 17, 2020 include Algoma Public Health; Brant County Health Unit; Chatham-Kent Public Health; Eastern Ontario Health Unit; Grey Bruce Health Unit; Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit; Hastings Prince Edward Public Health; Huron Perth Public Health; Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health; Leeds Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit; Middlesex-London Health Unit; North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit; Northwestern Health Unit; Ottawa Public Health; Peterborough Public Health; ; Porcupine Health Unit; Public Health Sudbury & Districts; Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services; Renfrew County and District Health Unit; Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit; Southwestern Public Health; Thunder Bay District Health Unit; Timiskaming Health Unit; and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health
Businesses and municipalities will be permitted to enter Stage 3 based on their region and, as in the previous stages, may choose to take more time before reopening.