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Ford Is Reportedly Thinking About Reopening Ontario Sooner If Cases Keep Dropping

Ontario's reopening plan could speed up to be closer to B.C. and Alberta's timelines.

As provinces announce their respective reopening plans, it's possible that Ontario will consider moving up its timeline to match more closely with those of B.C. and Alberta.

Cynthia Mulligan of CityNews reported on Wednesday that Ford's government is "keeping a close eye" on Ontario's COVID-19 numbers to decide if step one of the province's reopening plan could begin sooner than mid-June, according to one of the premier's senior staffers.

"Premier did say last [week an] earlier opening [is] possible if [numbers] dropped and they are," tweeted Mulligan.

The premier revealed the "Roadmap to Reopen" last week, which splits the gradual restart of Ontario's economy into three steps based on vaccination rates, with 21 days between each step.

The first step of the plan is set to commence when 60% of Ontarians have received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose. In this step, up to 10 people will be allowed to gather in outdoor settings, restaurants will be able to reopen for patio dining, and non-essential shopping can resume with capacity limits.

By comparison, Alberta's "Open For Summer Plan" could have the province fully reopened just in time for the Calgary Stampede in July if COVID-19 cases come down. B.C.'s first step of reopening has already begun, with indoor dining and both indoor and outdoor gatherings permitted.

Top doctor says schools should be the first to reopen in Ontario

Ontario's chief medical officer of health Dr. David Williams said on Tuesday that reopening schools should come before anything else.

"Ideally, I'd like the schools to open before we enter step one of our exit strategy," he said, adding that some regions are already talking about resuming in-person learning as early as the first week of June.

"Most of the medical officers of health in the province of Ontario, including those in the GTA, feel that they are pretty well ready to move on that as soon as possible," he said.