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Toronto, Peel Region move into Stage 2 of province’s reopening plan Wednesday

Premier Ford announces reopening plans for Toronto, Peel Region

Toronto and Peel Region will be moving to the next stage of reopening on Wednesday amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Windsor-Essex will be the only region to remain in Stage 1.

For other regions that have entered Stage 2 of reopening, restrictions were eased for restaurant patios, barbershops, nail salons, malls, swimming pools and more.

Coronavirus: Toronto, Peel Region to join Stage 2 of Phase 2 reopening in Ontario, Ford says
Coronavirus: Toronto, Peel Region to join Stage 2 of Phase 2 reopening in Ontario, Ford says

Premier Doug Ford made the announcement at 1 p.m. Monday during a news conference at Queen’s Park, along with other ministers.

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“Today’s announcement is another sign that we continue to make steady progress,” said Ford. “We have been working hand-in-hand with our municipal partners and local public health units to safely and gradually reopen the province.

The two regions are able to reopen as of 12:01 a.m. June 24.

Toronto Mayor John Tory said that he thought the timing of the city’s partial reopening was as good as it could get.

“I do not believe it is a moment too soon from a public health standpoint but it also can’t come a moment too soon for people and for businesses in the city of Toronto,” he said at a news conference on Monday.

The mayors of Brampton and Mississauga in Peel Region welcomed the premier’s announcement, saying it came at the right time.

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“Friends and family will once again be able to enjoy a cold beer on a patio, a dip in the pool, play a game of soccer, or get a haircut with their favourite stylist or barber,” Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said in a statement.

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“Our local businesses who are our friends, neighbours and family members will need our help to get back on their feet after what has been a very challenging time.”

READ MORE: More Ontario regions to enter Stage 2 of reopening Friday; Toronto, Peel, Windsor still excluded

With the exception of Toronto, Peel Region and Windsor-Essex, the rest of the province entered Stage 2 earlier in June, with Ford saying the three regions would need to wait until the public health criteria was met.

“We will do everything we can to get our final region, Windsor-Essex, into Stage 2 as soon as possible,” Ford continued. “That’s why we are ramping up testing and inspections on Ontario’s farms to protect workers and keep our food supply chains strong and healthy.”

Three migrant workers have died as a result of coronavirus since the onset of the pandemic, the most recent being announced on Sunday, according to the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit. The worker had been employed at a farm in Norfolk County, Ont.

The two other workers who have died due to coronavirus also worked in the Windsor Region.

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READ MORE: Migrant worker at Norfolk County, Ont., farm dies of coronavirus

“Our government is committed to protecting our agri-food workers who continue to produce the safe and healthy foods Ontarians rely on,” said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “Expanded on-farm proactive testing, more workplace inspections and additional resources like our $15-million Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program are part of our coordinated effort to safeguard our farm workers.”

Many businesses have been closed since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus: Ontario and federal government to invest $50 million in Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program
Coronavirus: Ontario and federal government to invest $50 million in Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program

On Monday, Ontario reported an additional 161 new COVID-19 cases with 44 cases recorded in Peel Region, followed by Toronto with 36 and Windsor-Essex with 32 new cases. All other public health units across Ontario reported either zero or fewer than 10 new cases.

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With files from The Canadian Press