ONTARIO: Province will start economic reopening on Friday

Jose's patio

Jose's hosts a busy patio on day one of Stage 2 of the province's reopening plan in Windsor Ont. on Thursday June 25 2020

The changes will take effect at midnight on Friday.

While step one of the province's reopening plan will allow many retail stores that have been closed since early April to reopen it will continue to keep malls shuttered with only stores featuring street-front entrances permitted to open.

During this time, the government will continue to work with stakeholders on their reopening plans, including targeted measures for specific sectors, institutions and other settings to ensure that they have full awareness of when they can begin to safely reopen and how.

It will also allow for outdoor fitness classes and personal training sessions, as well as overnight camping at campgrounds and campsites and day camps for children.

Dr. David Williams, Ontario's chief medical officer of health, said that he hopes to see daily COVID-19 cases come down below 500 this week and ICU admissions come down below 400, now at 497 across the province.

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Step one of the reopening plan was allowed with the benchmark of 60 per cent of adults having one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as well as other favourable public health indicators.

"People need to have confidence that this early reopening won't backfire", NDP deputy leader Sara Singh said. As of Monday, 72 per cent of those 18 and older in the province have received an initial dose. "By continuing to follow public health advice and measures we can continue to reduce transmission, safeguard health system capacity and save lives". "We must all remain vigilant, as the fight against COVID-19 is not over".

However, they said vaccinations appear to have protected people infected with the variant from becoming severely ill, especially those who have received two doses.

Singh of the NDP also criticized the government for reopening the economy rather than schools.

The decision means that restaurant patios and non-essential retailers will be able to reopen to the public for the first time in months.

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"Operating at 15 per cent capacity will not immediately solve the cash flow challenges most small businesses face".

Currently, the province exceeds the best-case scenario as outlined in recent modelling, which indicated the province would reach below 1,000 new daily infections by June 30, 2021.

Kelly, however, said that he would like to see the province add more businesses to the list of those permitted to operate during the first step.

At a press conference on Monday, Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario's associate chief medical officer of health, stressed that with 525 new COVID-19 cases reported on Monday, that is the lowest daily case count since september 27, 2020.

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