With new daily cases of COVID-19 falling at a clip and vaccines now being administered all across the land, it’s starting look like Ontario may finally come out of lockdown when the current stay-at-home order expires after two months on June 2.
As for what things will look like when that finally happens, nobody knows.
Will the province move everyone from shutdown mode back into their colour-coded response framework like last time? Because that didn’t go so well.
Ditto for the staged framework Ontario used to reopen the economy last summer as we came out of the pandemic’s first wave.
Maybe residents of Canada’s most populous province will see an entire new system rolled out, one custom-tailored to the situation at hand.
Or maybe we won’t. It’s unclear at this point, but we should all have some idea of what the plan looks like “very soon,” according to Health Minister Christine Elliott.
Elliott told reporters at Queen’s Park on Tuesday that the Ford government is working on its master plan for when the entire province comes out of a two-month-long lockdown period during which all non-essential businesses have been closed.
“We have been working with the chief medical officer of health and the medical experts on a safe and careful reopening of Ontario, because the last thing we want is to go into it too quickly and to get into a fourth wave,” said Elliott this afternoon.
“We have to do everything we can to avoid that so we are working on that and we expect it will be available very soon. It is sector-specific, looking at what different types of sectors could perhaps be reopened and what their specific needs and timelines are.”
On Monday, Elliott revealed at Queen’s Park that outdoor recreational amenities, at the very least, would reopen to the public on or before the stay-at-home order is lifted (if lifted as scheduled) on June 2.
With the province reporting just 1,616 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday — the lowest number we’ve seen since March — and more than 7.2 million people now having received their first dose of a COVID vaccine, there’s reason to hope that whatever the province’s reopening plan entails, they’ll kick it into action within a few weeks.