On this Monday morning, Ontario’s two COVID-19 hotspots will move into a new phase of reopening, as the province recorded fewer than 1,000 cases for more than a week. A surge in cases on Sunday could disrupt long-term plans, however.
The decision to move the City of Toronto and the Peel Region to its west into the grey zone means some businesses will open their doors for the first time since November.
In-store shopping and malls will be allowed to reopen with capacity limits. Some outdoor activities, such as ski hills and day camps, will be allowed and outdoor gatherings will be limited to 10 people. Indoor dining stays shut down, as do gyms and personal care services.
Health care officials in Toronto and Peel are still urging caution. They don't want the restrictions to be eased too quickly.
“We’re some distance away from being in a place where we can have even more things open, but let’s look at the bright side," said Toronto Mayor John Tory. "On Monday, thousands of stores will open, thousands of stores that have been closed for some time. They will have the opportunity, subject to restrictions, to have people doing business with them. I think we are way better to do this cautiously and make sure that we don’t have another lockdown, if we can possibily avoid that, because that to me is the worst.”
Health Minister Christine Elliott said it is a safe and cautious approach to eventually ending the shutdown provincewide.
The reopening comes as Ontario experienced a surge of new COVID-19 infections: 1,299 cases, the highest number in more than three weeks.