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More Ontario businesses open outside Toronto and Hamilton regions

Coronavirus: Celebrating Stage 2 reopening in large parts of Ontario
WATCH ABOVE: After being in lockdown for several months, patios, barber shops and other services have reopened in many parts of Ontario. Sean O'Shea has more from Brant County.

TORONTO – Most Ontario regions outside the Toronto and Hamilton areas will be allowed to reopen more businesses today, with some asking GTA residents to stay away.

The second stage of the province’s reopening includes restaurant patios, hair salons and swimming pools.

Meanwhile, the limit on social gatherings will increase from five to 10 provincewide, but people must still stay two metres away from anyone outside their own household.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: What you can and cannot do in Ontario amid Stage 2 of reopening

Child-care centres across Ontario will also be allowed to reopen, but it’s not yet clear how many will be able to implement new pandemic safety measures immediately.

The current pandemic restrictions will stay in place for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas, which have a high concentration of COVID-19 cases.

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Jeff Lehman, mayor of Barrie, Ont., said waterfront parking lots will be open only to residents of his city.

“This is not the time for day-trippers to come up from the GTA,” Lehman said on Thursday. “We do want to give priority to residents and allow them to be able to use the beach.”

Leslieville small business owner pleads for reopening in emotional video
Leslieville small business owner pleads for reopening in emotional video

Barrie residents will need a waterfront parking pass and have to display it on their vehicles, Lehman said. Residents getting ticketed would be able to show proof of residency and get the ticket cancelled.

Also reopening this weekend in Barrie will be about 50 restaurant patios. Distancing requirements will be in place and most will operate on a reservation system, requiring people to call ahead, the mayor said. Other facilities, such as splash pads, will re-open in Barrie in the coming week.

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Border regions such as Windsor-Essex, Lambton County and Niagara, as well as Haldimand-Norfolk, which has seen an outbreak among migrant workers, will also not move to Stage 2 today.