Toronto - Jul. 29, 2020: Additional businesses and public spaces will be reopening as the Ontario government allows the City of Toronto and Peel Region to move into Stage 3 of reopening the province on Friday, July 31 at 12:01 a.m. This decision was made in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and local medical officers of health. It is based on positive local trends of key public health indicators, including lower transmission of COVID-19, ongoing hospital capacity, public health capacity to conduct rapid case and contact management, and a significant increase in testing.
Toronto Public Health and Peel Public Health regions will join the 31 public health regions that entered into Stage 3 on July 17 and 24, 2020.
"While more restaurants, theatres and businesses can hang up their Open for Business sign, we're asking everyone to follow public health advice and act responsibly," said Premier Doug Ford. "We have made tremendous progress that allows us to return to something a little closer to our normal lives this summer, but we are not out of the woods yet. This virus is still among us and we have to be extra cautious to avoid sparking a surge or an outbreak. I strongly urge everyone to continue following public health protocols."
Windsor-Essex County Health Unit region will remain in Stage 2. Ontario will continue to monitor local trends of key public health indicators in the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit region and move it into Stage 3 when it is safe to do so. In the interim, the government continues to address the needs of the region, in partnership with other levels of government, through measures such as on-farm testing, the deployment of mobile testing units and the adoption of new public health guidance for positive asymptomatic workers for all workplaces.
"More businesses and services are able to reopen thanks to the collective efforts of all Ontarians to limit the spread of the virus," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. "While public health trends across the province are positive, we continue to closely monitor Windsor-Essex so that we can move the community into Stage 3 when the time is right. No matter which stage a region is in, everyone needs to continue to follow public health advice to protect themselves, their families and community."
Ontario is also supportive of proposals made by the City of Toronto and Toronto Public Health relating to restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments that are permitted to be open. For more information on the restrictions that will remain in place during Stage 3, as well as the public health and workplace safety restrictions necessary to keep people safe, visit Ontario.ca/reopen.
Businesses that are unable to open or resume full activities due to Stage 3 restrictions, or businesses that have ideas to safely amend Stage 3 restrictions or requirements, can visit Ontario.ca/reopen to submit a reopening proposal for consideration. Government and public health officials will review proposals and contact businesses for feedback or clarification and provide an initial response within 10 days.
The Chief Medical Officer of Health and public health experts also continue to closely monitor the evolving situation to advise when public health restrictions can be further loosened or if they need to be tightened.
It remains critically important for everyone to continue following public health advice as more businesses and services reopen in Stage 3. This includes practising physical distancing with those outside your household or social circle, wearing a face covering when physical distancing is a challenge or where it is mandatory to do so, staying home when ill, and washing your hands frequently and thoroughly.
Proposals from the City of Toronto and Toronto Public Health, if adopted, would further limit close contact and interaction in restaurants, bars, and other food or drink establishments. This includes further restrictions on movement/seating and maintaining client logs to support case and contact tracing and limit the spread of the virus.
For regions in Stage 3, gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 50 people indoors and a maximum of 100 people outdoors, with physical distancing in place. Gathering limits apply to all social gatherings and events, as well as some higher risk activities and venues. Gathering limits do not apply to settings such as restaurants and bars, however these settings must be configured so that patrons seated at different tables are separated by a distance of at least two metres, plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier.
Some local municipalities may have enacted by-laws or local medical officers of health may have issued Section 22 orders under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, mandating the use of face coverings in some settings. Other medical officers of health may have mandated the use of face coverings through reference to emergency orders. Refer to local municipal or public health unit webpages for more information.
For questions on restrictions that will remain in place during Stage 3, review the Stage 3 Emergency Order on the emergency information portal or call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1 888 444-3659.
Over 180 guidance resources are available to businesses to help them safely reopen and keep customers and workers safe.
The province has set up a Workplace PPE Supplier Directory, where employers can find suppliers who sell personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies to support a safe reopening of their workplaces.
Testing is available at any of the province’s 144 assessment centres currently open. To find your closest assessment centre, please visit Ontario.ca/coronavirus.
The province has developed a practical step-by-step guide to help Ontarians as they safely develop and join a social circle.