The Ontario government announced seven additional regions can move into Stage 3 of reopening on Friday, Jul. 24. They are:
Durham Region Health Department
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
Halton Region Health Department
Hamilton Public Health Services
Lambton Health Unit
Niagara Region Public Health Department
York Region Public Health Services
The three areas absent from this list are Toronto, Peel and Windsor-Essex, which combined have accounted for a large percentage of new COVID-19 recently identified.
At a press conference on Monday, Minister of Health Christine Elliott said it is very important for people to follow the public health rules still present in Stage 3, including maintaining a close social circle of up to 10 people, physical distancing and practicing good hand hygiene. She added that having four weeks of data from the impact of Stage 2 will be a core part of moving the remaining regions to the next stage of reopening.
As a reminder, Stage 3 includes being able to congregate with 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors (with proper social distancing measures in place), as well as the reopening of personal grooming and restaurant dining.
‘Do the right thing’
As the number of younger people being infected with COVID-19 continues to rise, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said these individuals need to think about the health of their parents, grandparents and other family members when they go out.
“Do the right thing,” Ford said. “Don’t go to these parties if they’re there, it’s not worth it.”
“You may get through it but it’s going to be a different story for your parents and your relatives, and the loved ones that are part of your family.”
Elliott added that she is aware there is “COVID fatigue,” particularly among young people.
“Please remember that as we’re opening up the economy it is more important than ever before to please follow the public health rules,” she said.
I’ve sent a letter to Premier @fordnation with a request for additional measures to be implemented as part of Stage 3. These six recommendations will help protect our City from further spread of #COVID19 & help ensure we continue safely reopening. pic.twitter.com/k26BxDsDT4
— John Tory (@JohnTory) July 19, 2020
When asked about the safety of opening bars, Ford stressed that every region has the ability to implement additional measures for the opening of these spaces.
This comes after Toronto Mayor John Tory sent a letter to the Ontario premier to request six additional measures be implemented to prevent any future spread of COVID-19.
These requests include adding provisions that require patrons at food and drink establishments to be seated at all times (unless entering, exiting, going to the washroom or paying) and a request to limit capacity at these to ensure physical distancing can be maintained.