The province declared a state of emergency in mid-March to help curb the spread of the coronavirus and has ordered the closure of all businesses deemed non-essential. The state of emergency was recently extended until mid-May.
Premier Doug Ford would not provide a specific date for the reopening, highlighting the unpredictable nature of the highly contagious virus.
“The framework is about how we reopen, not when we reopen,” said Ford.
“I will not set a fixed date until we are ready because the virus is moving at its own speed.”
According to a document released Monday by the province, the first stage would see the reopening of certain workplaces and allow the holding of small rallies.
The second stage would see more open workplaces, as well as larger gatherings.
The final step would further ease restrictions on public gatherings and open all workplaces responsibly.
“There is light at the end of this tunnel,” said Health Minister Christine Elliott. “We have a clear path to follow to relieve the restrictions safely and gradually.”
Elliott added that there was a plan in place to bring back elective surgeries, with cancer surgeries at the top of the list.
Premier Ford says he cannot commit to resuming concerts and sporting events. The framework does not say for the foreseeable future. Prime Minister adds that when they return, he sees no complete stadium in North America # covid19
– Cynthia Mulligan (@CityCynthia) April 27, 2020
Each step of the reopening plan would be monitored by public health officials for two to four weeks, and certain measures and restrictions could be applied again if the virus were too difficult to contain.
“As public health measures are lifted and economic activity resumes, the public will have to continue to maintain physical distance and hand washing, as well as self-isolation during COVID-19 symptoms,” the province said in a statement.
“Remote working arrangements should continue as much as possible.”
“By taking this gradual approach, the government can ensure that there are appropriate measures in place to reopen the province safely and limit risks to people and public health. Each step requires careful evaluation and monitoring to determine whether to adjust, tighten or loosen the measurements. “
Closed businesses that meet or modify their operations to meet public health and safety standards will be among the first to reopen. Some parks will reopen and more people will be allowed to attend certain events such as funerals.
If the initial phase is successful, the following phases will begin.
The steps will start on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and will be based on the following criteria and thresholds: