The Province of Ontario has begun stage 3 of reopening after COVID-19. The first 23 Public Health Unit regions will be allowed to reopen most businesses including dine-in restaurants, and bars, as well as gyms as of July 17.
“Our success in reducing the spread of COVID-19 and getting Ontario to a place where we are ready to reopen most of the province is a testament to the hard work of business owners, individuals and families right across the province,” said Premier Doug Ford said. Ontario reports an overall increase of 116 cases, with 29 of 34 Public Health units reporting fewer than 5 cases, and 21 reporting 0 cases.
In stage 3, Ontario will also be increasing gathering limits to the following:
- Indoor gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 50 people;
- Outdoor gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 100 people;
- Gathering limits are subject to physical distancing requirements.
The limits apply to all indoor, and outdoor public including live shows, concerts, festivals, conferences, sports and recreational activities. A 2 metre distance must be maintained at those events.
The province has been advised to continue closures in environments considered high risk places, and activities by the Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health. These include the following:
- Amusement parks and water parks;
- Buffet-style food services;
- Dancing at restaurants and bars, other than by performers hired by the establishment following specific requirements;
- 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.
“Having seen a decline in the number of new COVID-19 cases as the province safely restarted over 90% of economic acitivity with stage 2, we now have the confidence to move some regions into stage 3,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said. The following areas are moving into Stage 3 beginning Friday:
- 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
- Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health
The province requires four weeks of data to continue to stage 3. “Together we’ll move Ontario forward,” Elliott added. Halton has only been into stage 2 for three weeks.
Ontario will also begin reopening childcare centres as well as home daycares with safe precautions in place. Beginning July 27, childcare centres will open to 15 children placing the system at 90% of its pre COVID-19 capacity. “Child care is an integral enabler to the continued restart of Ontario’s economy and we remain committed to working to ensure child care remains accessible,” Lecce said.
Halton Regional Council is set to vote on a bylaw making non-medical masks and face coverings mandatory for residents at their meeting July 15.