"I know it's very important for people in Ontario to get to step one."
It looks like Ontario might start reopening earlier than mid-June after all. Premier Doug Ford said on June 2 that he's waiting on Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams and his team to approve an earlier start date for step one of the reopening plan.
"I'm cautiously optimistic right now. We're doing as well as the province can do, and that's thanks to each and every one of you and the frontline healthcare workers," said Ford. "I'm so hopeful that as things are going, we may be able to enter step one safely earlier than June 14."
"Right now, we're waiting for Dr. Williams and his team to tell us when we may be ready to do so, because I know it's very important for people in Ontario to get to step one, to get to step two, as soon as it's safe to do so."
In step one, outdoor gathering limits will be increased to 10 people, including outdoor fitness classes, restaurants can open for outdoor dining with four people per table, non-essential shopping can resume at 15% capacity, and short-term rentals like cottages can accept reservations.
"As we see the numbers come down, and they're dropping rapidly, we've put forward to doctor Williams and the medical team that option about opening up earlier based on a cautious approach, based on the numbers coming down. The framework won't change, so what you're allowed to do will not change, that will stay consistent," he added.
The premier said that if reopening can begin sooner, stage two could begin as early as Canada Day.
"We want to get to stage one, everyone wants to get to stage one. And then, three weeks after that, then we get to go to stage two and if we're able to open up a few days later, based on Dr. Williams' advice, then we get to go stage two before July 1. I think that would be fabulous," said the premier.
Schools are staying closed until fall to ensure a normal summer
This follows the premier's announcement that schools will remain closed for in-person learning until September in order to ensure a more normal summer filled with outdoor activities and events for kids.
"Today's difficult decision will help ensure we do have a summer, a safe summer, and we get to stage one and stage two and create conditions for a safe and normal return to in-class learning in September," he said.
The premier is encouraging schools to host outdoor graduation ceremonies and events for kids in all grades. "I want schools to host in-person outdoor graduation events and other opportunities for you to meet with your friends, and reconnect outside before the end of the year," he said.