Ontario Will Officially Start Stage 1 Of Its Reopening This Thursday
More good news is on the way for Ontario and, man, are we here for it. Premier Doug Ford announced during his daily press briefing on May 12 that more details surrounding stage one of the three-step framework for his Ontario reopening plan are coming on Thursday. This news comes after some stores in the province re-opened for curbside pick up orders on May 11.
As new cases remain relatively low in comparison to a few weeks ago, Ford offered "more good news" that the province is on the right track to slowly being rebooted.
"We'll have more details on Thursday and it will be stage one of three stages. That's very important. The people of Ontario have all followed the protocols and we'll hit stage one on Thursday," said Ford to reporters.
He added: "We're building a solid foundation for the cautious reopening of our province. We're charting a path to a strong recovery."
The Premier repeatedly mentioned "low-risk workplaces, seasonal businesses, and essential services" in talking about what could reopen at this stage.
This is despite Ontario's Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Williams saying later on Tuesday afternoon that the province is not yet in a position to recommend to do so.*
The province had released an initial three-step framework back in April as to how the province plans to reopen for businesses again once things start to get on the right track.
According to that framework, the first phase includes opening select workplaces that can meet current public health guidelines, allowing some gatherings of a limited number of people, and opening a selection of outdoor spaces.
Those first measures began over the weekend as first garden centres and then retail stores with curbside entrances were allowed to open their doors again.
Ontario provincial parks are also now open again, albeit with some restrictions.
However, although the province is heading in the right direction with current regulations in place, Ford has requested that the provincial state of emergency be extended until June 2 despite stores re-opening.
And, as the reopening process begins, things may look a lot different in Toronto compared to other areas of the province.
For example, Mayor John Tory suggested that the TTC could mandate that masks and PPE must be worn during your daily commute going forward.
You also shouldn't expect huge sales when more stores open up, at least not in the 6ix.
Tory urged stores not to offer big deals or discounts in order to reduce the risk of large gatherings.
So, while Ontario is reopening bit by bit, the final picture might look pretty different from what we're used to.
It's worth noting that not everyone agrees with Ford's decision to reopen the province so soon. Ontario's top doctor Dr. David Williams said so himself on Tuesday.
When asked if he thinks the province is ready for stage one, he replied, "No, I would have recommended if we’re already there but we haven’t yet."
"We're on a downward trend, about day eight or seven... but we haven't had all those things come together yet where we say 'now we're ready to enter stage one,'" he continued.
Despite this, it seems that Ford is determined to get Ontario started on its long road to recovery.
*This article has been updated.