All but Toronto, Peel and Windsor can move to Stage 2 on June 19: Ford
Published Monday, June 15, 2020 7:10AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, June 15, 2020 4:13PM EDT
The premier says all of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area except for Toronto and Peel region can move to Stage 2 of reopening on June 19.
Restaurants, hair salons, shopping malls and many other businesses were given the green light to reopen in 24 of 34 public health units around the province last Friday as part of Stage 2.
Regions with higher numbers of COVID-19 cases, including Toronto, Peel, and Windsor-Essex, will have to wait at least one more week before they can learn when they can reopen.
"This means more people will go back to work at bars, restaurant, beauty salons, shopping malls, and many other businesses, big and small, in those regions,” Ford said Monday. "For the regions still staying in Stage 1, Toronto, Peel and Windsor-Essex, we ask you please be patient because we can't let our guard down."
The announcement means activities such as haircuts, outdoor patio dining, shopping in malls and swimming in public pools will now be permitted in Halton, Durham, Niagara, York, Hamilton, Haldimand-Norfolk and Lambton public health units for the first time since mid-March,
Infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch said earlier on Monday the province would probably be wise to wait one more week for places such as Toronto.
"I think that we would probably be best to see one more week of heading in the right direction before following the rest of the province," he told CP24 on Monday morning.
"I have no idea what the premier is going to say but we are sort of just on the cusp and if you are going to reopen, you've got to do it at the right time and you've got to do it safely."
The province as a whole reported 181 cases of COVID-19 on Monday, with Toronto, Peel and Windsor-Essex accounting for 134 of them combined.
As of early afternoon on Monday, Toronto had 1,367 remaining active cases of COVID-19, while Peel Region had 616. Windsor-Essex County Public Health says they are dealing with 425 remaining active cases.
For her part, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said she agreed Peel should stay in Stage 1.
“I remained hopeful but given rates across the entire Region remain the second-highest in the province, it's clear we have more work to do,” she said on Twitter.
With York and Durham regions now allowed to move into Stage 2, people will literally be able to cross single streets from Toronto and go into areas where things like restaurant patio dining, haircuts or mall shopping is allowed.
Ford said the chief medical officers of York, Durham and Toronto agree that is a risk the province can take.
“We’re hoping very shortly that we will be able to reopen the other regions, certain areas were having outbreaks and other areas weren’t,” Ford said. “We just want to make sure that Peel Region and Toronto and Windsor get the numbers lower.”