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Ontario announces stage 3 reopening for most regions commencing July 17

Monday, July 13, 2020 @ 4:04 PM | By John Schofield

As Ontario continues to loosen its COVID-19 lockdown, Premier Doug Ford has announced that some areas of the province will move into stage 3 of the government’s reopening plan starting July 17.

Public health regions that will be allowed start stage 3 include those in Ottawa, London, Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, Kingston, Peterborough and all those in Northern Ontario, including Thunder Bay, Sudbury and North Bay, according to a July 13 government news release. As with stage 2, the stage 3 reopening of Toronto, Hamilton and the Windsor area will be delayed.

The stage 3 declaration means that nearly all businesses and public spaces will be allowed to reopen with “public health and workplace safety measures and restrictions in place,” said the release.

Indoor gathering limits will increase to 50 people, while outdoor gathering limits will increase to 100 people. Physical distancing requirements will apply in both cases, along with local public health requirements, such as mandatory face coverings in commercial establishments and all indoor public places. Regions still in stage 2 will maintain the existing gathering limit of 10, and social circles in both stage 2 and 3 areas will be kept to a maximum of 10 people.

Public gathering limits apply to indoor and outdoor events, such as community events or gatherings, concerts, live shows, festivals, conferences, sports and recreational fitness activities, fundraisers, fairs, festivals or open houses. A two-metre distance must still be maintained at such events, stated the news release.

Establishments and activities in all areas deemed “high risk” due to the likelihood of large crowds and the difficulty of physical distancing will not be allowed to open. These include amusement parks, water parks, buffet-style food services, public dancing at restaurants and bars, overnight camps for children, karaoke rooms, contact sports, bath houses and saunas and table games at casinos and gaming centres.

Starting July 27, child care centres will be allowed to operate with cohorts of 15 children instead of the current limit of 10, bringing the sector to 90 per cent of its operating capacity, stated the release.

“So many have stepped up and played by the rules, demonstrating that we can restart our economy safely and responsibly,” Ford said in the news release. “Small actions can make a big difference. Now more than ever, we must continue to follow the public health advice to preserve the progress we have made together.”

A complete list of restrictions still in place is available at The government is also inviting businesses not yet able to reopen to visit the site to submit a reopening proposal. More information on continuing restrictions is available at the government’s emergency information portal or at its Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659. A wide range of other business guidance resources is available at

According to the release, the Ontario government has also launched a website to provide businesses with information on personal protective equipment (PPE) suppliers. The Workplace PPE Supplier Directory has an up-to-date list of Ontario companies and business associations that are ready to supply PPE.

The government is also offering free online workplace health and safety training through Employment Ontario for up to 100,000 job seekers, with topics such as infection control, conducting health and safety incident investigations, ladder safety, slips, trips and falls prevention.

It was also announced that Treasury Board president Peter Bethlenfelvy will lead a new committee focused on strengthening the work of the Ontario government following the COVID-19 pandemic. The committee will ensure public sector services are customer focused and digital- and data-driven, while increasing the speed of government operations and decisions.

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