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Ontario may not take regional approach to reopening, solicitor general says

Click to play video: 'Ontario government provides more hints at reopening plans' Ontario government provides more hints at reopening plans
WATCH ABOVE: The Ford government says the province will reopen sector by sector, but some health experts want to see outdoor amenities open this long weekend and patios open three weeks from now. Kamil Karamali reports – May 19, 2021

Ontario’s solicitor general says the province may not take a regional approach to loosening COVID-19 restrictions.

Sylvia Jones made the remarks while speaking to reporters at Queen’s Park on Wednesday.

“The minister of health has suggested that we’re going to be moving away from the regionalization approach,” Jones said.

“What happens is people … are more likely to move from place to place if we go to a regional approach and have certain parts of the province with tighter restrictions than others.”

Read more: Ontario won’t return to colour-coded COVID-19 framework, government says

The government recently confirmed that Ontario will not be returning to its colour-coded COVID-19 response framework, which placed regions in different categories of restrictions depending on local rates of COVID-19 transmission.

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But it still wasn’t clear if officials were moving to loosening restrictions on a local level for reopening out of the third wave.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said Tuesday the province will be releasing a reopening plan “very soon” and added that it will be “sector-specific.”

“I understand how anxious people are to see the reopening plan,” Jones said Wednesday.

“We’re working through those details now and what I can assure people is that we’re going to give them time to be able to plan…

“The sector by sector is important because frankly there are differences and nuances depending on what kind of business you operate.”

Click to play video: 'Ontario yet to release reopening plan but says it won’t return to colour-coded framework' Ontario yet to release reopening plan but says it won’t return to colour-coded framework
Ontario yet to release reopening plan but says it won’t return to colour-coded framework – May 19, 2021

Jones was also asked about calls to reopen outdoor activities and she again reiterated the government’s main point that outdoor amenities are closed to limit mobility.

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“It’s not so much the activity, it’s the fact that going to the activity leads to the movement, leads to people moving around more and unfortunately transmitting COVID-19 from place to place,” she said.

“But this will all be part of the safe reopening plan that we are working on directly right now.”

When asked if outdoor amenities will remain closed for the long weekend, Jones said long weekends and holidays pose a unique risk to spreading COVID-19.

“If we put ourselves at risk by gathering with people outside of our household, we have seen and we now have the data to show that generally when we have a long weekend or a holiday, there is a spike a couple of weeks later or an increase in cases,” she said.

“We don’t want to see that. We’re so close.”

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