Essex excluded from Stage 3

Essex excluded from Stage 3

Essex excluded from Stage 3

As Toronto prepares to enter Stage 3 of its economic reopening, city hall is asking the province to add more regulations to the restaurant industry.

Premier Doug Ford announced this afternoon that Durham, Halton, Hamilton, Niagara, Haldimand-Norfolk, Sarnia-Lambton and York regions will all be permitted to enter Stage 3 at 12:01 a.m. on Friday.

Health officials have said that they are examining four weeks' worth of data to determine whether a region should move forward to a more advanced stage of reopening.

Ontario reported more than 160 new COVID-19 cases on both Saturday and Sunday.

Ford said Toronto, Peel, and Windsor-Essex will not move ahead because all three have larger case counts of COVID-19 than other regions.

Outdoor gatherings will also be expanded to 100 people, while indoor spaces can host up to 50.

However, before that happens Toronto Mayor John Tory wants some changes made to stage 3. "We won't stop until every worker in Ontario gets back to work and back on their feet".

Stage 3 rules would allow restaurants to resume indoor service, as well as businesses such as bars, gyms and theatres to start welcoming patrons again. "We have been trending well here in Mississauga but there is still some community and household transmission occurring in other parts of the region and that is preventing us from moving forward at this time".

However, if you live in Toronto, Peel or Windsor, you'll have to wait a little longer.

"I believe ensuring these are requirements, rather than recommendations, will help ensure compliance and, ultimately, protect the health of our residents", the mayor wrote. "And, you know something, I wouldn't disagree with that", Mr. Ford said.

In his press conference, Mr. Ford said jurisdictions have the power to impose additional public-health restrictions.

Mr. Ford said Ontario and Toronto's chief medical officers "are in very frequent contact to develop a set of protocols that's going to keep the people of the City of Toronto safe and healthy".

As of Friday, 23 people are known to have COVID-19 in Hamilton. "We must accept some risks with reopening, but the critical point is to make informed decisions that balance the risk with the potential benefits".

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