Premier Doug Ford has confirmed that 34 of the province’s local health units will enter into Stage 3 on Friday, July 17, with the exception of the Greater Toronto Area and other parts of southern Ontario, which will remain in Stage 2 for the time being.
Ford said this means that things like indoor dining in restaurants live performing arts shows, and movie theatres and playgrounds will be permitted to reopen.
However, there will be significant health and safety measures in place, including physical distancing, enhanced cleaning protocols, and Plexiglas barriers.
Based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, indoor and outdoor gathering limits will also be increased to as many as 50 people indoors and as many as 100 people outdoors. However, physical distancing will still remain a requirement for all people of Ontario that are not from the same household or social circle.
The following public health units will remain in Stage 2 for the time being:
- Durham Region Health Department
- Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
- Halton Region Public Health
- Hamilton Public Health Services
- Lambton Public Health
- Niagara Region Public Health
- Peel Public Health
- Toronto Public Health
- Windsor-Essex County Health Unit
- York Region Public Health
Premier Ford Provides a COVID-19 Update https://t.co/hxLm3Rp8VO
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) July 13, 2020
The province also says that people gathering inside for religious services, weddings or funerals can continue to increase and fill up to 30% of a room’s capacity in Stage 3.
The plan, which was announced Monday during Ford’s daily briefing said that sports facilities and gyms can also reopen, but physical distancing still must be maintained, “except if playing a team sport or as needed for personal training.”
The government is also banning a number of “high-risk” businesses and activities from resuming in Stage 3, including amusement parks, water parks, buffet-style food services, dancing in restaurants and bars, overnight stays at camps for children, private karaoke rooms, prolonged or deliberate contact while playing sports, saunas, steam rooms, bathhouses, and oxygen bars.
Additionally, casinos will be allowed to reopen but table games are banned.
This announcement comes as the spread of COVID-19 continues to slow in Ontario, with new daily case numbers having steadily declined over the last five weeks. Ontario reported 116 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 today.