Premier Doug Ford to announce plans Thursday for Ontario to enter ‘Stage 1’ of reopening

Premier Doug Ford says he will share more “good news” on Thursday about people getting back to work and opening more workplaces amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“It will be Stage 1 of three stages,” Premier Doug Ford said at his daily press briefing at Queen’s Park on Tuesday.

“So that’s very important, that the people of Ontario have all followed the protocols, and we’ve hit Stage 1 on Thursday. So we’ll have more details as that rolls around.”

Ford said Ontario will be reopening more low risk workplaces, seasonal businesses and essential services.

“On Thursday, we will share more good news about getting people back to work, more good news about opening workplaces,” Ford continued.

“Getting paycheques out the door. More good news about slowly getting back to normal.”

According to framework previously released by the province, Stage 1 includes:

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Stage 1

  • Businesses that can immediately meet or modify operations to meet public health guidance and occupational health and safety, for instance through curbside pick-up or delivery.
  • Open some outdoor spaces like parks.
  • Allow for a greater number of individuals to attend some events, like funerals.
  • Hospitals begin to offer some non-urgent scheduled surgeries and other services.
  • Continued protections for vulnerable populations and practice of physical distancing.

Ontario has released more than 80 safety guidelines for businesses to follow for reopening.

When it comes to enforcement, Ford said they will be relying on inspectors.

“We will have inspectors going into stores to make sure they inspect and they are following the proper processes to make sure not only their staff, but their customers are safe as well,” Ford continued. “We are going to continue with the inspections right across the board.”

“I have confidence in businesses. They are getting ready to open up … the vast majority of businesses are doing everything they can to protect their staff and their customers. It’s the right thing to do.”

Last week, Ontario eased more restrictions by allowing garden centres, nurseries, hardware and supply stores to reopen. Retail stores, with a street entrance, were allowed to provide curbside pickup to customers as of Monday.

On Tuesday, the province reported 361 new cases and 56 more deaths due to COVID-19. In total, there has been 20,907 cases and 1,725 deaths attributed to the virus in Ontario.

“We’re building a solid foundation for the cautious reopening of our province. We’re charting a path to a strong recovery, with the progress we’ve made, I am confident we can move forward,” Ford said.

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