Ontario’s state of emergency has been extended by 28 days, but Premier Doug Ford insists that does not mean the province’s reopening will necessarily be put “on hold” during that time.
The state of emergency, approved by the legislature on Tuesday, will now be in effect until June 30 as the provincial government continues to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are working around the clock to move ahead with our economic reopening,” Ford said on Tuesday.
“As I said last week, our health officials are working on the option of a regional model because we need a plan that recognizes the reality on the ground in different parts of our province. A plan that will help us reopen safely without taking unnecessary risks because a second wave of this virus is possible.”
Ford said Ontarians must remain vigilant and prepare for the “long haul.”
He has previously said the province cannot fully return to normal until there is a vaccine for COVID-19.
Ontario entered Stage 1 of economic recovery on May 19, which included the resumption of work of all construction sites, certain health and medical services, seasonal and recreational activities, storefront retail stores, and household and animal services. A date for the second stage of recovery has not yet been announced.
The state of emergency allows the province to enact emergency orders, which includes ordering certain types of businesses to remain closed.
Ontario reported 446 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday and 17 more deaths, with 15,244 additional tests conducted.