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Ontario government allows seven more regions to enter stage 3, excluding Toronto

Monday, July 20, 2020 @ 3:30 PM | By John Schofield

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and the government of Premier Doug Ford have given the green light to seven more regions to enter stage 3 of reopening on July 24, even as daily new cases of COVID-19 in the province are increasing.

Public health units permitted to join the other 24 public health regions that entered stage 3 on July 17 are Hamilton, York Region, Durham Region, Niagara Region, Halton Region, Haldimand-Norfolk and Lambton Health Unit, which includes Sarnia. Toronto, Peel Region and Windsor-Essex will remain in stage 2 “until local trends of key public health indicators demonstrate readiness to move into Stage 3,” according to a July 20 government news release.

“While we want as many people back to work and taking home a paycheque again as possible, it’s important for everyone ― no matter what stage your community is in ― to remain on guard and keep following the public health advice,” Ford said in the news release. “By working together, we can keep new case numbers down and ensure all of Ontario can enter stage 3 when it’s safe to do so.”

As of July 20 at 2 p.m., Ontario was reporting 164 daily new cases, up from 111 on July 17.

Under stage 3 rules, indoor gathering limits are restricted to 50 people, while outdoor gatherings are limited to 100 people. Physical distancing requirements 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 are not 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.

A complete list of restrictions 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.

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.

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