Ontario Premier Doug Ford attends the province's daily briefing on the COVID-19 situation, in Toronto on Friday, June 5, 2020. (Steve Russell-Pool/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Ontario enters 2nd phase of COVID-19 recovery plan, but Toronto-area excluded

Many residents of Ontario will soon be allowed to gather in groups of up to 10, make appointments at hair salons or order a dinner at an outdoor patio as Canada’s most populous province begins the next phase lifting pandemic restrictions.

But residents of Ontario’s capital and Canada’s largest city, Toronto and its surrounding regions, will have to wait until COVID-19 cases drop even further before they can get a long-delayed haircut or enjoy a cold beer at an outdoor patio.

Premier Doug Ford outlined the details of Phase 2 of Ontario’s plan to lift restrictions on its lockdown, implemented to help curb the spread of COVID-19, at his daily briefing Monday afternoon.

The new phase begins on Friday and covers 24 of Ontario’s 34 public health units. The remaining 10, concentrated primarily in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) and near the U.S.-Canada border, will need to wait until new daily case numbers consistently decrease.

As of Friday, Ontarians living in those public health units where restrictions are getting lifted will be allowed to gather in groups of 10 — up from the previous five. The new phase will also see places of worship reopen, however with physical distancing measures in place and allowing no more than 30 per cent capacity.

“Entering Stage 2 means parts of the province will see more people back on the job and an opportunity to get back together with friends and family,” Ford said. “Although this is extremely encouraging, I urge everyone to exercise caution and continue to follow public health advice as we are not out of the woods yet.”

Here is a list of businesses and services allowed to reopen in regions entering Stage 2:

  • Select personal and personal care services with the proper health and safety measures in place, including tattoo parlours, barber shops, hair salons and beauty salons;
  • Shopping malls under existing restrictions, including food services reopening for takeout and outdoor dining only;
  • Tour and guide services, such as biking and walking, bus and boat tours, as well as tastings and tours for wineries, breweries and distilleries;
  • Water recreational facilities such as outdoor splash pads and wading pools, and all swimming pools;
  • Beach access and additional camping at Ontario Parks;
  • Camping at private campgrounds;
  • Outdoor-only recreational facilities and training for outdoor team sports, with limits to enable physical distancing;
  • Drive-in and drive-through venues for theatres, concerts, animal attractions and cultural appreciation, such as art installations;
  • Film and television production activities, with limits to enable physical distancing; and
  • Weddings and funerals, with limits on social gatherings to 10 people.
  • Child care services will shift away from providing solely emergency services throughout the province, regardless of what phase each region is in, allowing for a gradual reopening of regular service. The province says there will be a limit on operational capacity and other strict public health measures that will need to stay in place.

Ford said more information will be announced on Tuesday.

With files from CBC News

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