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Toronto, Peel Region now allowed to move into Stage 2 of reopening


Toronto and Peel Region will be allowed to move into the next phase of Ontario’s reopening plan on Wednesday, Premier Doug Ford said Monday.

The two public health units, along with Windsor-Essex, were previously prevented from proceeding ahead as they dealt with comparatively more new daily cases than the 31 other health units around Ontario.

The move will allow residents in Toronto and Peel to dine out on patios, get a haircut and shop in indoor malls, among other changes.

“We are confident that Toronto and Peel have met the public health criteria to join the 31 regions in Stage 2 effective this Wednesday,” said Health Minister Christine Elliott on Monday.

The news comes as Ontario continues to see new daily case counts below 200, a steady decline in hospitalizations and consistent testing levels above 20,000 per day.

Toronto, Peel and Windsor-Essex still accounted for about 70 of the 161 new cases reported provincewide on Monday, but the overall numbers of active cases in both Toronto and Peel have been in decline in recent weeks.

Speaking at his daily COVID-19 briefing, Ford said the novel coronavirus remains too much of a threat in Windsor-Essex to allow the region to reopen further this week.

“No one wants to see every region of Ontario open more than I do, but we have to do it right,” he said.

Ford placed blame squarely on farmers and workers in the region who aren’t getting tested, saying the province will send in whatever resources are needed.

“It’s frustrating to say the least,” he said.

“It’s just not fair what you’re doing right now, as simple as that. Co-operate. We’ll bend over backwards to help you.”

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