Premier Doug Ford outlined the steps it was taking toward reopening retail stores, parks, cottages and people missing loved ones Monday, provided COVID-19 numbers keep on the downward trend.
Currently the provincial total stands at 2.1 per cent higher than the previous day, pointing to a downward trend.
There were also 84 more deaths reported. Ontario has now seen 17,923 cases, including 1,300 deaths and 12,505 resolved cases – nearly 70 per cent of all of Ontario’s cases.
Hospitalizations, another key indicator, dropped, as did the number of people with COVID-19 in intensive care, while the number of patients on ventilators remained relatively stable.
Ford said that if the promising numbers continue, Ontario will be able to start reopening sooner rather than later.
“It gives us the confidence that we’re getting close to opening parks, that we’re getting close to opening retail for curbside pickup,” he said.
Ford also said retail should start getting ready now.
“No matter if it’s three weeks, four weeks, two weeks, whenever it is, start prepping, getting masks ready,” he said.
“It’s inevitable, if the numbers keep going down. We’re going to get the economy going based on health and science.”
The premier also said he will speak with cottage country mayors this week, noting that the May long weekend is approaching.
“If people go up to their cottage, bring their own food, don’t go to the stores, stay at their cottage, by May the 24th, there’s only so long I can hold the big gates back from these people,” Ford said.
In long-term care, where information comes from a different database than the provincial totals, five more outbreaks were reported for a total of 175, and 18 more deaths were reported for a total of 972.
There were 14,555 tests completed in the past 24 hours, the lowest total in four days, though officials have said there tends to be less demand on the weekends.
Monday marked a gradual start to reopening in Ontario, as a small list of mostly seasonal businesses were allowed to set up shop again, including garden centres that offer curbside pick-up, lawn care and landscaping companies and automatic car washes.