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No hard dates set on roadmap to reopen economy

The Ontario government released a ‘road map’ Monday – with no hard dates or details on stages – to get the economy moving in the province once it is safe to do so.

The ‘Framework for Reopening our Province’ seeks a consistent two-to-four week decrease in the number of new daily COVID-19 cases before the government loosens restrictions.

“The framework is about how we’re re-opening, not when we’re opening,” said Premier Doug Ford.

The three-stage process outlines criteria Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will use to advise the government on the loosening of emergency measures, as well as guiding principles for safe, gradual reopening of businesses, services and public spaces. The framework also provides details of an outreach strategy, led by the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee, to help inform the restart of the provincial economy.

“Our top priority remains protecting the health and safety of the people of Ontario and supporting our frontline heroes as we do everything in our power to contain and defeat this deadly virus,” said Ford. “At the same time, we are preparing for the responsible restart of our economy. This next phase of our response to COVID-19 is designed to help us map out what needs to be done, and when, to get us back on the road to recovery.”

The government is planning a stage-by-stage approach to reopening the economy to ensure appropriate measures are in place so workplaces can open safely.
Public health officials will carefully monitor each stage for two to four weeks, as they assess the evolution of the COVID-19 outbreak to determine if it is necessary to change course to maintain public health.

Stage 1: For businesses that were ordered to close or restrict operations, opening select workplaces that can immediately modify operations to meet public health guidance. Opening some outdoor spaces like parks and allowing for a greater number of individuals to attend some events. Hospitals would also begin to offer some non-urgent and scheduled surgeries, and other health care services.

Stage 2: Opening more workplaces, based on risk assessments, which may include some service industries and additional office and retail workplaces. Some larger public gatherings would be allowed, and more outdoor spaces would open.

Stage 3: Opening of all workplaces responsibly and further relaxing of restrictions on public gatherings.

Throughout each stage, continued protections for vulnerable populations must be in place, along with the continued practice of physical distancing, hand washing and respiratory hygiene, and significant mitigation plans to limit health risks.

Recent public health indicators show the province is beginning to turn a corner in the COVID-19 outbreak. Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health said last week the province needs to see fewer than 200 new cases daily for a stretch before relaxing emergency measures.

The ministry of health reported 424 newly confirmed cases in its latest update, bringing the total in the province to 14,856, but marking several consecutive days of falling growth rates.

Data from Hastings Prince Edward Public Health Monday showed 38 cases in the region – 237 probable cases and 170 noted as recovered. There have been two deaths related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Williams and health experts will provide advice to the government about easing public health measures using a range of set criteria, including:

A consistent two-to-four week decrease in the number of new daily COVID-19 cases;
Sufficient acute and critical care capacity, including access to ventilators and ongoing availability of personal protective equipment;
Approximately 90 per cent of new COVID-19 contacts are being reached by local public health officials within one day, with guidance and direction to contain community spread; and
Ongoing testing of suspected COVID-19 cases, especially of vulnerable populations, to detect new outbreaks quickly.

“It is because of the collective efforts of all Ontarians to stay at home and stop the spread of COVID-19 that we are able to consider plans to move into the next phase of our battle against this virus,” said Health Minister Christine Elliott. “The Chief Medical Officer of Health has outlined some criteria he will use to advise government on when we may begin to slowly and safely ease public health measures and restart our economy. To be able to do so, we need everyone to continue their extraordinary efforts so that we can meet these thresholds and begin to move forward.”

The new Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee, chaired by Minister Phillips, will be consulting with key sectors in all regions to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the provincial economy and develop a plan to move forward.

The government and MPPs will lead discussions with business associations, chambers of commerce, municipal leaders, the postsecondary sector, corporate leaders, small business owners, community and social service providers, Indigenous partners, Franco-Ontarians, entrepreneurs and others.

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. Jack Smith says:

    I have to agree with you Angela. Also the stopping of people that don’t live in the County visiting here. I see it on a daily basis from where I work. Plates from Quebec, U.S.A. and other parts of Ontario. This needs to stop for the safety of the ones that live here. People need to realize how serious this is and stay home.

  2. angela says:

    Herd extinction would be a more likely result of jumping the gun and lifting restrictions too soon. We may have ‘virtually no virus’ because oi the precautions we have been taking. More important than restarting the economy is keeping our lives. Prince Edward County needs to follow the rules.

  3. Chuck says:

    Prince Edward needs to start to reopen the economy. There is virtually no virus here,and people need to live. It would also verify and assist with herd immunity, which ultimately will be required.

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