Even as Ontario Premier Ford unveiled a roadmap for opening the province, he refused to commit to a set timeframe. He insisted there needed to be “consistent two-to-four week decrease in the number of new daily COVID-19 cases” before the government could begin loosening restrictions and reopen the economy.
“This is a roadmap, not a calendar,” Premier Doug Ford said at a news conference where he was joined by Minister of Health Christine Elliott, Minister of Finance Rod Phillips and Vic Fedeli, minister of economic development, job creation and trade.
“We won’t be rushed into anything,” Ford said, adding that while Ontario is believed to be at its peak in terms of the outbreak, how long that peak lasts has yet to be seen.
When and how Ontario begins reopening will depend on a number of factors, including:
A consistent two-to-four week drop in new daily COVID-19 cases.
A decrease in cases not traced to a source.
A decrease in new hospitalizations.
The stages for reopening are as follows:
Stage 1: Select workplaces that can “immediately meet” public health guidance and some outdoor spaces such as parks
Stage 2: More workplaces based on risk assessments, which could include some service industries and retail; and some larger gatherings.
Stage 3: Further relax restrictions on public gatherings and open all work-places “responsibly.” Even in this phase, however, “large gatherings such as concerts and sporting events will continue to be restricted for the foreseeable future.”
Each stage will last at least two to four weeks, at which point Ontario’s chief medical officer of health will be able to tighten certain restrictions, extend the stage or advise that the province can move into the next phase.