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Premier Doug Ford has announced that all of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area, except for Toronto and Peel region, will be entering Stage 2 of reopening this Friday, June 19. This includes Halton, Durham, Niagara, York, Hamilton, Sarnia-Lambton and Haldimand-Norfolk county.
With the number of active COVID-19 cases predominantly in Toronto and Peel, these regions will remain in Stage 1 for at least one more week until City and Health officials can assess reopening.
"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," says infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch
Those given the go-ahead will be permitted to reopen restaurants with patio-only dining, shopping malls, salons, community centres and public swimming pools among many other businesses. Permissible businesses are expected to follow physical distancing guidelines, including occupancy restrictions and enforced one-way walking lanes, as well as strict sanitation practices and all-around use of PPE.
"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,” said the Premier on 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."
With Durham and York regions open, this allows many Torontonians to drive just outside of the city to enjoy patio dining, hair cuts and shopping malls. However, according to Ford and chief medical officers of York, Durham and Toronto, it's a risk the province is willing to take until they can "make sure that Peel Region and Toronto and Windsor get the numbers lower".