Toronto is poised to officially enter Stage 3 of its COVID-19 recovery on Friday, July 31, two weeks after much of the rest of Ontario has already moved on from Stage 2.
Peel Region will join Toronto in entering Stage 3, as per consultations with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and local medical officers of health.
The decision has been made based on “positive local trends of key public health indicators,” which include lower transmission of the virus, ongoing hospital capacity, public health capacity for rapid case and contact management, and a significant increase in testing, according to officials.
Upon entering Stage 3, a region is permitted to have nearly all its business and public spaces reopen. However, places and activities that remain prohibited include:
- Amusement parks and water parks
- Buffet-style food services
- Dancing at restaurants and bars, other than by performers hired by the establishment who follow specific requirements
- Overnight stays at camps for children
- Private karaoke rooms
- Prolonged or deliberate contact while playing sports
- Saunas, steam rooms, bathhouses and oxygen bars
- Table games at casinos and gaming establishments
While more restaurants, theatres and businesses can hang up their Open for Business sign, we’re asking everyone to follow public health advice and act responsibly,” said Premier Doug Ford. “We have made tremendous progress that allows us to return to something a little closer to our normal lives this summer, but we are not out of the woods yet. This virus is still among us and we have to be extra cautious to avoid sparking a surge or an outbreak. I strongly urge everyone to continue following public health protocols.”
To continue to mitigate risk of viral spread, indoor gathering limits are capped at 50 people, with the cap pushed to 100 for outdoor gatherings.
Further, the province is supportive of proposals made by the City of Toronto and Toronto Public Health relating to restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments that are permitted to be open. For more information on ongoing restrictions can be found here.
Business-owners that are still unable to reopen or resume activities, or those who have ideas for safe amendments to restrictions, can submit a reopening proposal here — an initial response can be expected within 10 days.
The Chief Medical Officer of Health and public health experts are continuing to monitor the evolving situation, and will advise when public health restrictions can be further loosened, or if they need to be tightened. Officials emphasize it’s critical that public health advice continue to be followed, as more businesses and services reopen in Stage 3. Safety practices include physical distancing, wearing a face covering, staying home when ill, and frequent, thorough hand-washing.
As the rest of the province steps into Stage 3, Windsor-Essex County Health Unit region will remain in Stage 2 for the time being. Provincial officials will continue to monitor key public health indicator trends in the region, and move it into Stage 3 when it is safe to do so.