Ontario Could Move into Step 1 of Reopening Plan as Soon as Friday

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Ontario could move into Step 1 of its economic reopening plan as early as June 11, CTV News Toronto has learned, as Premier Doug Ford meets with cabinet ministers this week to make the final call.

Health Minister Christine Elliott told CTV News Toronto in a brief interview on Monday that the province's pandemic conditions are "quite favourable" possibly allowing the government to fast track the reopening.

Elliott confirmed that Ford will meet with a cabinet committee on Monday to review data and make an initial decision, which will likely have to be ratified by the entire cabinet this week.

"That's something that we're looking at, we're still looking at the numbers and the numbers are looking quite favourable," Elliott told CTV News Toronto. "That's something that we're going to be considering today."

The government has previously said that they will likely enter Step 1 of reopening on June 14.

Ontario achieved the main target of vaccinating 60 per cent of the adult population with the initial dose on May 21, according to the Premier's Office, but needed to wait at least two weeks to allow recipients to build up a sufficient level of immunity.

The province has also seen a steady decline in new daily cases, 525 reported on Monday, and ICU occupancy has also decreased to 498 COVID-19 patients -- factors that the Ford government will use in its decision.

Step 1 allows for Ontario to relax restrictions that mainly involving outdoor activities.

Outdoor gathering limits will increase to 10 people, patios can reopen, and in-person shopping at non-essential retail is permitted with strict capacity limits.

Elliott said business owners will learn of the final decision "well in advance" and acknowledged that businesses need time to prepare for the reopening.

 

— With files from Colin D'Mello, Queen's Park Bureau Chief and Videojournalist, CTV News Toronto