Published Monday, July 20, 2020 7:24AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, July 20, 2020 11:47AM EDT
Premier Doug Ford is expected to announce this afternoon that Durham, Halton, Hamilton, Niagara, Haldimand-Norfolk, Sarnia-Lambton and York regions will all be permitted to enter Stage 3 on Friday.
Sources, however, tell CTV News Toronto that Toronto, Peel Region and Windsor-Essex Region will remain in Stage 2 for at least another week.
Toronto and Peel regions only entered Stage 2 on June 24, so there won’t be four weeks of data available until Friday.
“We expect that the next group will be the second group that moved into stage two and then Toronto will follow,” Elliott told reporters last week.
Toronto, Peel Region and Windsor-Essex have been home to the majority of new COVID-19 cases in the province for weeks now, which is what prompted the Ford government to pursue a regional reopening strategy in the first place.
On Monday, more than 60 per cent of the new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the province were in either Toronto (26 cases), Peel Region (35 cases) or Windsor-Essex (21 cases).
Meanwhile, there were five or fewer new cases reported in 28 of Ontario’s 34 public health units.
Stage 3, it should be noted, represents a much wider reopening of the province with indoor dining resuming at bars and restaurants and gyms, movie theatres and other entertainment venues allowed to reopen.
The limit on indoor gatherings in regions in Stage 3 also increases from 10 to 50 people with the limit on outdoor gatherings going up to 100 people.
Mayor John Tory has previously asked the province to introduce stricter rules for indoor dining in Toronto when it is eventually permitted, including a policy that would prevent patrons from getting up from their chair unless they are leaving, paying or going to and from the bathroom.
“I am a little nervous about things like bars and indoor dining,” infectious disease expert Dr. Isaac Bogoch told CP24 on Monday morning. “Of course on paper it can be done. If people truly are physically distant from each other and if there are protections in place to make sure that people are seated and separate from each other and wearing mask indoors where possible yeah sure that is great. But the key here is implementation. How well will it be implemented? If it is not implemented well then we are certainly going to see cases and a rise in the number of cases.”
Premier Doug Ford is expected to provide more details about the regions that will be permitted to advance to Stage 3 at a news conference scheduled for 1 p.m. at Queen’s Park.