Good news for Ontarians who don't live near Toronto! Doug Ford gave an update on Ontario's reopening plan on Monday, June 8 and he announced that restaurants, salons, and other businesses in many less-affected areas of the province will be allowed to reopen, starting from this Friday, June 12. However, that does not include the Greater Toronto Area.
Ford was speaking to reporters on Monday, delivering the update he'd teased last week about "stage two" of Ontario's restart process.
There, the premier revealed that restaurants, salons, and other businesses in regions of the province that have not been hit as hard as others by COVID-19 will be able to open up again in the coming weeks.
"Today, we're taking the next step. It starts this Friday," said Ford at the briefing.
That will begin with a variety of areas in the province, per a government release.
In fact, only Toronto, Lambton, Durham, Halton, Peel, York, Haldimand-Norfolk, Hamilton, Niagara, and Windsor-Essex are remaining in stage one for now.
Everywhere else, including Canada's capital city of Ottawa, is moving to stage two.
The release points out which services can reopen in those areas.
Those include outdoor dine-in services at restaurants, bars and other establishments, including patios.
Also reopening will be hair and beauty salons, barber shops, some shopping malls, tour and guide services, water recreational facilities like recreational pools and splash pads, beach access and additional camping at Ontario Parks, outdoor recreational facilities and training for team sports.
The full list, which also includes drive-in and drive-through venues, can be found here.
But, unfortunately for people living in Toronto and the wider GTA, that does not mean you'll be able to head out for a sit-down meal again this weekend.
The 6ix and its surrounding areas remain Ontario's biggest hub for virus infections.
However, it sounds like Toronto is hopeful it might get there soon enough.
On Thursday, June 4, Mayor John Tory said restaurants in the city that have outdoor patios should be getting ready to reopen "right now."
Despite that encouraging talk, though, it seems like Torontonians will have to wait a little longer than most of the rest of Ontario.