A large swath of Ontario will move to Stage 3 of the province’s reopening plan on July 17, with the exception of the Greater Toronto Area and other parts of southern Ontario, which will remain in Stage 2 for now.
The province’s plan will allow for activities such as indoor dining in restaurants, live performing arts shows and the reopening of movie theatres and playgrounds — albeit with significant health and safety measures in place, including physical distancing, enhanced cleaning protocols and Plexiglas barriers.
“Every corner of our province is getting back to work,” Premier Doug Ford said at a Monday news conference.
“Today, we are ready to take the next step.”
The province says it will allow indoor gatherings of up to 50 people in Stage 3 and outdoor gatherings of up to 100 people. However, according to the plan, physical distancing remains a requirement for all people who are not from the same household or established social circle.
Work colleagues, including performers and crews, do not count toward gathering limits, according to the province.
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.
“These regions entered Stage 2 later on, so we need just a little more time,” Ford said. “I want the people in these regions to know we won’t leave anyone behind.
“We will keep working until every part of this province gets to Stage 3.”
The plan also says that people gathering inside for religious services, weddings or funerals can continue to fill up to 30 per cent of a room’s capacity in Stage 3.
It also dictates that sport facilities and gyms can reopen but notes that physical distancing still must be maintained, “except if playing a team sport or as needed for personal training.”
Amusement parks and water parks are not being allowed to reopen in Stage 3 at the moment.