New daily confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been in steady decline for about five weeks in Ontario.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford is expected to announce plans for Stage 3 of the province’s reopening today.
The development comes as the spread of COVID-19 continues to slow in Ontario, with new daily case numbers having steadily declined over the last five weeks.
Twenty-four of Ontario’s 34 public health units entered Stage 2 on June 12, and seven more on June 19. Toronto and Peel, the province’s most populous health units, then proceeded into Stage 2 five days after that. The move included reopening patios and hair salons.
According to a document released in late April, Stage 3 includes allowing remaining workplaces to reopen “safely,” and further relaxing restrictions on public gatherings.
Outdoor playgrounds will also likely reopen for use after having been closed for almost four months.
The document notes, however, that large public gatherings such as concerts and sporting events will continue to be restricted for the “foreseeable future.”
Meanwhile, the current restriction of up to 10 people for social gatherings is expected to be loosened, although it’s not known what the new maximum may be.
But the president and CEO of the Ontario Hospital Association is already expressing some hesitations at the prospect of entering the third phase.
“Given that hospitals continue to act as the anchor of Ontario’s response to COVID-19, [the OHA] will be giving this announcement some serious scrutiny,” Anthony Dale wrote on Twitter.
“We can’t have hallway health care in a pandemic.”
Ford is scheduled to hold his daily COVID-19 briefing beginning at 1 p.m. ET. Ford’s office says he will be joined by the ministers of health, finance and education. You can watch it live in this story.