Ontario Premier Doug Ford said the province is putting the brakes on its reopening plans until October. The announcement comes after officials announced a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases over the long weekend.
The hold on any further steps to Ontario’s reopening came from Health Minister Christine Elliott.
“We will be taking a pause of four weeks before considering any further loosening of health measures or further reopening of businesses, facilities and organizations,’" Elliott said.
She said the decision was not taken lightly, but numbers of COVID-19 cases have been trending up recently, with Ontario recording 375 new cases just over the past two days. She added that with children going back to school, it is important to have them do so safely. A spread in the community will also likely mean a spread in schools, she said.
Ford also weighed in, saying the situation has not reached the point where the reopening would have to revert to Stage 2, but if the numbers continue to creep upwards, his hint was that he wouldn’t hesitate.
He called on people to follow the rules, especially those people who are not going into quarantine.
"And if you aren’t quarantining, if you aren’t sitting on your couch, we’re coming after you," Ford said. "It’s very simple because it is concerning that we see the numbers going up.”
Ford also called for stiffer penalties for people coming into Canada and for those who have not been putting themselves under quarantine, adding that it is a privilege to be in Ontario. He also urged people not to hold large gatherings, such as parties and weddings.
There are three hot areas for the coronavirus: Toronto, Brampton and Ottawa.