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COVID-19: Ontario says Halton, Hamilton, York and more regions can move to Stage 2 on Friday – Toronto in holding pattern

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TORONTO, ON., June 15, 2020 — With downward COVID-19 case counts and increased testing, today, Premier Ford announced that the GTA and Hamilton Area except for Toronto and Peel region can move to Stage 2 of reopening on June 19.

This means that in several more regions hair salons and shopping malls will be allowed to open this Friday, as well as outdoor patio dining, public pools and more this Friday.

The latest public health unit regions allowed to move into Stage 2 on Friday, June 19, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. are:

  • Durham Region Health Department;
  • Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit;
  • Halton Region Health Department;
  • Hamilton Public Health Services;
  • Lambton Health Unit;
  • Niagara Region Public Health Department; and
  • York Region Public Health Services.

Regions with higher case counts will still need to stand by. Toronto, Peel, and Windsor-Essex, will have to wait for at least one more week before knowing if they can reopen.

“This will mean more people will go back to work at bars, restaurant, beauty salons, shopping malls, and many other businesses, big and small, in those regions,” said Doug Ford Monday morning.

“For the regions that must remain at Stage 1 — Toronto, Peel and Windsor-Essex — we ask you to please be patient. We can’t let our guard down but the good news is the public health trends across the province are going in the right direction. We’re making steady progress and if we keep working together I am hopeful that all communities in Ontario will be able to enter Stage 2, very, very soon,” said Premier Ford.

The Ontario government decision was made in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and local medical officers of health. The province says these regions are able to reopen due to positive trends of key public health indicators at the local level, including lower transmission of COVID-19, sufficient hospital health system capacity, local public health capacity to assist with rapid case and contact management, and a significant increase in testing provincially.

These latest regions are in addition to the 24 public health regions that entered Stage 2 on June 12, 2020. Before opening, business owners need to review the workplace safety guidelines and public health  advice.

The province today, reported 181 cases of COVID-19, with Toronto, Peel and Windsor-Essex accounting for 134 of them combined.

“Thanks to the collective efforts of our frontline health care workers and the people in these regions to stop the spread of COVID-19, more businesses will be able to open their doors and thousands of people will be able to go back to work and put food on the table,” said Premier Ford. “With the public health trends improving day by day across the province, I am hopeful all regions of Ontario will enter Stage 2 very soon. But we must remain on our guard to prevent any potential surge or secondary wave by continuing to follow the sound advice of our public health officials.”

The following regions will remain in Stage 1 until trends of key public health indicators demonstrate readiness to move into Stage 2:

  • Peel Public Health;
  • Toronto Public Health; and
  • Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.

“Opening more regions of Ontario is another positive sign that we are making steady progress in our collective efforts to contain this deadly virus,” said Minister Elliott. “As many more Ontarians begin to work, shop and interact with others, it’s never been more important that we continue to follow public health advice, especially physical distancing with anyone outside of our social circle, so we can soon successfully and safely move into Stage 3.”

Public health remains the government’s top priority. All Ontarians must continue to follow public health advice, including practising physical distancing, wearing a face covering if physical distancing is a challenge, washing hands frequently and thoroughly, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth. If you think you have COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone who has COVID‑19, get tested.

The Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will continue to closely monitor the evolving situation to advise when public health restrictions can be gradually loosened or if they need to be tightened.

Quick Facts

  • At the beginning of each week, the government is providing an update on the ongoing assessment of Ontario’s regions, and whether they are ready to move into Stage 2 at the end of the week.
  • To get tested, people should visit Ontario’s website to find their local assessment centre and whether they need to call ahead to make an appointment.
  • The province has developed a practical step-by-step guide to help Ontarians as they safely develop and join a social circle.

For more interesting stories like this, visit totimes.ca and mtltimes.ca

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