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LIVE: Ontario releases framework for re-opening province, but no timeline given

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announces three-stage approach to re-opening businesses, services and public spaces, but warns it will be done "slowly, methodically and gradually"


Ontario Premier Doug Ford introduced the province's framework for a gradual re-opening of businesses, services and public spaces Monday, but warned that the province will not set hard dates until it's ready.

"We must ensure that our plans for re-opening the economy reflect Ontario's unique situation - they must be responsible, they must be measured, and they must be guided by our Chief Medical Officer of Health, our command table and our health experts," Ford said. 

Here are the three stages for re-opening Ontario's economy, as outlined in a press release from the province: 

  • Stage 1: For businesses that were ordered to close or restrict operations, opening select workplaces that can immediately modify operations to meet public health guidance. Opening some outdoor spaces like parks and allowing for a greater number of individuals to attend some events. Hospitals would also begin to offer some non-urgent and scheduled surgeries, and other health care services.
  • Stage 2: Opening more workplaces, based on risk assessments, which may include some service industries and additional office and retail workplaces. Some larger public gatherings would be allowed, and more outdoor spaces would open.
  • Stage 3: Opening of all workplaces responsibly and further relaxing of restrictions on public gatherings. 

Some conditions will have to be satisfied to re-open the province's economy, including:

  • A consistent two-to-four week decrease in the number of new daily COVID-19 cases;
  • Sufficient acute and critical care capacity, including access to ventilators and ongoing availability of personal protective equipment;
  • Approximately 90 per cent of new COVID-19 contacts are being reached by local public health officials within one day, with guidance and direction to contain community spread; and
  • Ongoing testing of suspected COVID-19 cases, especially of vulnerable populations, to detect new outbreaks quickly.  

"There is light at the end of this tunnel. We have a clear path forward to safely and gradually ease restrictions, but to meet these criteria and begin to move forward, we need everyone to continue their extraordinary efforts to stay home," said health minister Christine Elliott Monday. "Your determination and resolve have been nothing but short of remarkable."

Original story:

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is expected to lay out his plan for reopening the province's economy, which has been largely locked down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The premier, alongside Christine Elliot, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, and Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade will present a framework for recovery at 1:30 p.m. at Queen's Park.

Village Media will carry the livestream.

The province declared a state of emergency in mid-March in an effort to help curb the spread of the virus, ordering the closure of any businesses it deemed non-essential.

The state of emergency was recently extended until mid-May.

Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick have already announced tentative timelines for reopening their economies.


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