On Monday Premier Doug Ford revealed Ontario’s plans to reopen the province and ease coronavirus restrictions currently in place.
“The framework is about how we’re reopening not when we’re reopening,” said Ford during a press conference.
“Progress doesn’t mean we can quit now and that’s why I won’t set hard dates until we’re ready, because the virus travels at its own speed.”
The plan titled, “A Framework for Reopening our Province” details a three-stage process that culminates in reopening all workplaces within the province.
“The government will reopen Ontario businesses and public spaces gradually,” the government’s plan states.
“Each stage will last for approximately two-to-four-week periods to allow for close monitoring of any impacts or potential resurgence of cases.”
The Premier emphasized that the government will be basing their decisions on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
The Chief Medical Officer of Health will use the following criteria in its advice to the government — virus spread and containment, health system capacity, public health system capacity and incidence tracking capacity.
The government’s plan can be found here.
In the first stage “select workplaces that can immediately meet or modify operations to meet public health guidance and occupational health and safety requirements” will be restarted.
The Ontario government also plans on opening “some outdoor spaces like parks” and permit a larger number of people to attend select events. Hospitals will also begin to offer some non-urgent care and other services.
Afterwards, more workplaces are to be opened including retail service and office and retail workplaces. During the second stage, additional outdoor spaces would be opened and “some larger public gatherings” would be allowed.
By the final stage, the province hopes that all workplaces are opened “responsibly” and relaxing public gathering restrictions, although still restricting large events like concerts.
During each stage, protections would remain in place for at-risk populations through public health measures such as physical distancing, hand washing and other actions.
“It is because of the determination and resolve of the people of Ontario that were now able to consider moving into the next phase of our battle against this virus,” said Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott.
“We have a clear path forward to safely and gradually ease restrictions.”