Durham and York regions have received the greenlight to proceed to Stage 3 of the Province’s reopening plan as of Friday (July 24).
According to a media release, this decision was made in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and is based on positive local trends of key public health indicators, including lower or low transmission of COVID-19, ongoing hospital capacity, public health capacity to conduct rapid case and contact management, and a significant increase in testing.
“We’re working with communities across the province to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and help more businesses safely and responsibly hang up their ‘Open for Business’ sign,” said Premier Doug Ford.
“While we want as many people back to work and taking home a paycheque again as possible, it’s important for everyone ― no matter what stage your community is in ― to remain on guard and keep following the public health advice. By working together, we can keep new case numbers down and ensure all of Ontario can enter Stage 3 when it’s safe to do so.”
The following public health units will be allowed to move into Stage 3 on Friday, July 24, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. – Durham Region Health Department; York Region Public Health Services; Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit; Halton Region Health Department; Hamilton Public Health Services; Lambton Health Unit and Niagara Region Public Health Department.
“Building on the success of the regional approach in the previous two stages and based on the positive public health trends we are seeing, we are ready to move more regions across the province into Stage 3,” said Health Minister Christine Elliott.
“Entering Stage 3 does not mean the fight against COVID-19 is over. We all must remain vigilant and continue following public health advice to ensure the progress we have made so far in stopping the spread will not be undone.”
The areas covered by Toronto Public Health, Peel Public Health and the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit will remain in Stage 2 for the time being.
“Ontario will continue to assess trends in the public health indicators to determine when these final public health unit regions can progress to Stage 3,” reads a media release.
“The Chief Medical Officer of Health and public health experts also continue to closely monitor the evolving situation to advise when public health restrictions can be further loosened or if they need to be tightened.”
Businesses not able to open or resume full activities due to Stage 3 restrictions, or businesses that have ideas to safely amend Stage 3 restrictions or requirements, can visit Ontario.ca/reopen to submit a reopening proposal. Government and public health officials will review proposals and contact businesses for feedback or clarifications. Proposals may inform the potential loosening of restrictions as Stage 3 progresses. Proposals will receive initial feedback within 10 days of submission.
A sector could be allowed to reopen or resume Stage 3 activities based on proposals submitted by businesses.
“I’m impressed by how seriously business owners are taking the public health advice and how easy they made it for their customers to take precautions,” said Finance Minister Rod Phillips.
“By providing plenty of space to physically distance, keeping hand sanitizer by the door, and maintaining records for contact tracing, they’re playing a vital role helping fight COVID-19. We’re all doing our part and making it easy for others to do the same.”