Meanwhile, Ontario’s plan, announced Monday, is very different from Quebec’s. As Premier Doug Ford put it, it’s “not a calendar, it’s a road map,” meaning there is no specific date set yet for the plan to be set in motion. The province must see a “consistent two-to-four week decrease in the number of new daily COVID-19 cases” before the government can start loosening restrictions and begin reopening the economy, says a new framework for reopening released by the government.
Ontario’s three-step “road map” begins with the opening of certain workplaces that have the ability to modify operations according to social distancing protocols. This would include public parks, loosening restrictions around funerals, and allowing more businesses to do curbside pickup or delivery. As well, non-urgent surgeries would begin again, especially cancer surgeries. The second phase would see more businesses reopen, including retail businesses and some workplaces, as well as allowing some public gatherings. The third would open all workplaces and relax rules on public gatherings further, though Ford said it could be a while before the largest events, such as sporting events and concerts, would be allowed. Each stage would be two to four weeks long, depending on what the public officer of health deems appropriate based on the number of new cases.
Business leaders say they want more detail on Ontario’s strategy for restarting the economy.
Companies need to know what conditions will be attached to reopening such as the rules for face shields and other personal protective equipment so they can prepare.
So how far away is the province from the first phase? Ontario’s chief medical officer Dr. David Williams shed some light on that Monday, saying at present Ontario remains in the “pandemic phase” of the outbreak. “We’re still having over 400 cases a day,” Williams said. “We have a ways to go.” Health and safety “will continue to be a top priority as Ontario transitions to a ‘new normal’,” the document says, emphasizing public health officials will have input during each phase of the process. Williams said last week that the province would need to see fewer than 200 new cases daily for an extended stretch before relaxing COVID-19 emergency measures would be feasible.
Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick have already announced tentative timelines for reopening their economies.ri