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Ontario's reopening plan coming 'very soon,' Elliott says

Last Updated May 19, 2021 at 6:51 am EDT

The province’s Health Minister says a reopening plan will be released soon, noting that she’s been working with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and the medical experts on a “Safe and careful reopening of Ontario.”

Pressed for more details by 680 NEWS on when the plan will be released, Christine Elliott wouldn’t relay specifics, only noting that a plan was imminent.

“I can’t give you any more details on that but it will be very soon,” Elliott said Tuesday.

“It will also be sector-specific looking at different types of sectors could perhaps be reopened and what their specific needs and timelines are.”

Doug Ford’s office, meantime, confirmed with 680 NEWS on Tuesday that it will not return to the colour-coded framework when it starts to reopen parts of the province.

The framework, which split up public health units in different colours based on restrictions, was previously in place across Ontario during the second and third waves of COVID-19.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault presented his government’s COVID-19 reopening plan Tuesday, which begins with lifting the curfew on May 28 and ends with the possible removal of the mask mandate in late August.

Legault said five major restrictions will be eased May 28: the curfew will be lifted, restaurant patios can reopen, up to eight people can gather outside in backyards, inter-regional travel can resume and indoor venues can start welcoming up to 2,500 people at once.

With the updated guidance, the Montreal Canadiens say they will allow 2,500 fans in the Bell Centre starting May 29 for game six of their first round playoff series against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

This will make it the first professional team in Canada to permit attendance at an indoor sporting event since the pandemic shutdown.


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Here in Ontario, Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Williams has previously said that he would like to see daily case counts “well below 1,000” before restrictions are lifted.

CityNews’ Cynthia Mulligan reports Dr. Peter Juni, with the COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, believes outdoor activities could resume within the next week or so. And Juni hopes schools will re-open before the end of the academic year.

Juni says restaurant patios could open by the end of June, or in early July.

The Ford government extended the provincewide stay-at-home order an additional two weeks until at least June 2 with outdoor amenities and schools remaining closed in the meantime.

The stay-at-home order requires everyone to remain at home except for specified purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise, or for work that cannot be done remotely.

In-person shopping and non-essential stores, including malls, will remain closed. Big box stores are strictly limited to selling essential items only.

NDP leader Andrea Horwath expressed concern about the delay in releasing the reopening plan, saying the fact that the government won’t listen to expert advice is problematic.

“What I really want to make sure happens this time is that the government has learned its lesson and that it listens to the experts in developing that plan and listens to the experts in terms of the reopening we can’t make the same mistakes again,” Horwath said.

Ontario reached an important milestone Tuesday, as people aged 18 and older became eligible for vaccine appointments as of 8:00 a.m.

Health units across the province warned that appointments might not be available right away amid skyrocketing demand.

The expanded eligibility comes as the province reports 1,616 new cases of COVID-19 and 17 more deaths linked to the virus.

The data is based on over 22,900 completed tests.


With files from 680 NEWS web reporter Lucas Casaletto and The Canadian Press

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