ONTARIO: Province to begin economic reopening on Friday

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TORONTO – Ontario will begin its economic reopening days ahead of schedule Friday, easing restrictions on outdoor activities and businesses.

The province announced the move on Monday, saying health indicators have improved enough to start lifting some pandemic restrictions.

Limited outdoor dining, outdoor fitness classes, outdoor church services, and camping can be resumed as part of the first stage of the plan.

Outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people are also permitted and more retail outlets may open for in-person sales with capacity restrictions.

Premier Doug Ford thanked residents for their “huge sacrifices” and acknowledged that the ongoing vaccine rollout made the first move possible.

“As we begin to reap the benefits of the first step in our roadmap, such as meeting friends on a patio or visiting your favorite local store, please do so safely while continuing to follow all public health guidelines.” Ford said in a statement.

The changes will come into effect on Friday at 12:01 a.m.

The province originally planned to take the first step of its reopening plan next week.

He said 72% of adults in Ontario had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Sunday night, putting the province ahead of its 60% target set for the reopening date.

Daily COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations have also declined, the province said in a press release, with trends set to continue “in the coming days.”

Ontario reported 525 new cases of COVID-19 and 15 deaths from the virus on Monday, with 547 COVID-19 patients hospitalized.

The province will follow a three-step reopening plan throughout the summer as it comes out of a harsh third wave of the pandemic.

The restrictions are still expected to be lifted after at least 21 days, based on vaccination rates and other health indicators.

Ford suggested last week that the reopening could take place ahead of schedule, although senior officials have warned that a new, more infectious variant that has first emerged in India should be monitored.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on June 7, 2021.

The Canadian Press


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