July 20, 2020, Premier Doug Ford announced that seven more of Ontario’s public health regions will be permitted to enter stage three of reopening this Friday, July 24, at 12:01 a.m.
Premier Ford was joined by Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Christine Elliott, and Minister of Finance, Rod Phillips.
Following this afternoon’s announcement, Premier Ford, Minister Elliott and Minister Phillips provided an update on the province’s ongoing response to COVID-19 and responded to questions from media.
Later this afternoon, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, Lisa MacLeod, announced that the Ontario government is providing Ontario Place with $2 million to support on-site activities which will allow Ontarians to safely reengage in arts and culture experiences as the province reopens.
Additional Regions to Enter Stage Three July 24
This afternoon, Premier Ford announced that the following seven additional public health regions will be permitted to enter stage three this Friday, July 24, at 12:01 a.m:
- Durham Region Health Department;
- Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit;
- Halton Region Health Department;
- Hamilton Public Health Services;
- Lambton Health Unit;
- Niagara Region Public Health Department;
- York Region Public Health Services.
As a result of moving to stage three, as of Friday, nearly all business and public spaces will be able to reopen in the regions listed above. This includes dine-in services at restaurants, bars, gyms and fitness centres, most personal care services, live shows, performing arts and movie theatres, casinos, recreational facilities and activities, team sports, live sporting events, and tour and guide services. Gathering limits in these regions will also increase to a maximum of 50 people indoors, and 100 people outdoors.
The regions of Peel, Toronto, and Windsor-Essex will remain in stage two until at least four weeks of stage two data can be analyzed by the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
Questions from Media – Ongoing Response to COVID-19
In response to questions about the launch of the federal COVID Alert app for use in Ontario, Premier Ford said the app may be released this Friday. Whether or not the app is released will not have any effect on the timeline for regions moving to stage three.
When asked whether the province is moving too quickly by allowing bars to reopen, Premier Ford reiterated that the government’s number one priority is public health. He added that Ontario’s regional medical officers of health have the authority to place stricter restrictions on businesses in their regions, and he would be supportive of more stringent regional regulations on bars.
In response to questions about the rising number of COVID-19 cases among Ontarians under the age of 39, Minister Elliott acknowledged that there is a degree of COVID-fatigue among young people. She reiterated the importance of continuing to follow public health rules, specifically the importance of maintaining a single social circle of no more than ten people.
Support for On-Site Activities at Ontario Place
Later this afternoon Minister MacLeod announced that the Ontario government is providing $2 million to Ontario Place, in order to support on-site activities designed to allow Ontarians to safely enjoy the summer as the province gradually reopens.
This summer’s line-up at Ontario Place includes:
- Lavazza Drive-In Film Festival, featuring the latest international films;
- Toronto Shines, featuring live entertainment, comedy and current and classic films;
- DriveInTO, offering free drive-in film screenings;
- Toronto Undergraduate Jazz Festival, a virtual jazz festival in Trillium Park;
- Toronto International Film Festival, drive-in screenings of new feature films, short films, interactive talks, film cast reunions, and Q&As with cast and filmmakers.