Lights in the rooms of the Hilton Hotel in Toronto are lit to honour front line health care workers on April 5. Things appear to be looking brighter for residents of Canada's biggest city. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn/)

COVID-19 restrictions set to ease for millions in southern Ontario

Millions of people living in southern Ontario–the region known as the Greater Toronto Area–may be able to take a deep breath on Friday.

Or at the very least–catch it.

On a day, when health authorities announced the lowest number of day-over-day COVID-19 increases since late March, the Ontario government said that–as of Friday–Toronto and the neighbouring Peel Region, which includes Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga, will join virtually all of the rest of the province and move to Stage 3 of the COVID-19 recovery plan.

An employee cleans the glass of the LookOut level of the 553 metres high CN Tower, which reopened earlier this month. (REUTERS/Carlos Osorio)

In Stage 3, nearly all businesses and public spaces can reopen, with health measures in place, and people can gather in larger groups.

“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,” Premier Doug Ford said in a press release. 

Shopping malls were allowed to reopen as part of Stage 2 of Ontario’s plan to lift COVID-19 restrictions. In Stage 3, nearly all businesses and public spaces can re-open with health measures in place and people can gather in larger groups. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang)

“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.”

Twenty-four of Ontario’s 34 public health units were allowed to enter Stage 3 on July 17, with another seven joining them on July 24.

The lone outlier is Windsor-Essex, the site of major outbreaks on farms and in agribusinesses, which will remain in Stage 2 until its COVID-19 case growth falls.

Two cities in Stage 3, Ottawa and Sudbury, have had new cases of COVID-19 emerge in recent days, but Ford said Tuesday there are no plans to roll back the reopening in any areas.

Ontario on Wednesday reported its the lowest day-over-day increase of COVID-19 in cases since late March. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

As the province tries to move forward, COVID-19 cases appear to be moving backwards.

Officials said the 76 new cases reported Wednesday were the lowest day-over-day increase since late March. 

The total number of cases in the province now stands at 38,986, which includes 34,741 cases marked as resolved and 2,769 deaths.

The province reported one new death related to COVID-19 on Wednesday.

There were also 174 cases newly marked as resolved.

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 11:14 a.m. on July 29, 2020: There are 115,070 confirmed cases in Canada. — Quebec: 58,897 confirmed (including 5,670 deaths, 50,886 resolved) — Ontario: 38,986 confirmed (including 2,769 deaths, 34,741 resolved) — Alberta: 10,470 confirmed (including 187 deaths, 8,886 resolved) — British Columbia: 3,523 confirmed (including 194 deaths, 3,076 resolved) — Saskatchewan: 1,218 confirmed (including 17 deaths, 907 resolved) — Nova Scotia: 1,067 confirmed (including 63 deaths, 1,004 resolved) — Manitoba: 391 confirmed (including 8 deaths, 319 resolved), 14 presumptive — Newfoundland and Labrador: 266 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 259 resolved) — New Brunswick: 170 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 165 resolved) — Prince Edward Island: 36 confirmed (including 36 resolved) — Yukon: 14 confirmed (including 11 resolved) — Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved) — Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved) — Nunavut: No confirmed cases — Total: 115,070 (14 presumptive, 115,056 confirmed including 8,913 deaths, 100,308 resolved) (The Canadian Press)

“It seems like a long way from the scary days of the winter when we were having our meetings at the beginning of the pandemic and hearing numbers that were almost incomprehensible, in terms of case counts and also projections as to how many people could lose their lives or become ill,”  Toronto Mayor John Tory told a Wenesday news conference.

For most Toronto residents, it’s been a very tough haul. (Timothy Neesam/CBC)

The mayor has said he wants to enact enhanced safety measures during Stage 3.

Those include limiting indoor capacity and table sizes at bars and restaurants and requiring customers to remain seated at all times except when they are using the washroom or paying.

The province has it supports the additional measures for bars and restaurants.

With files from CBC News, The Canadian Press


Categories: Economy, Health, Politics
Tags: , , , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

For reasons beyond our control, and for an undetermined period of time, our comment section is now closed. However, our social networks remain open to your contributions.