Ford says decision on second stage of reopening could come within next week

Doug Ford

TORONTO - Premier Doug Ford says Ontario health officials are in discussions about the second stage of the province's economic reopening plan, and he hopes to bring it forward over the next week.

Numbers of new cases have gone up and down in the two weeks since Ontario entered stage one, and the province has previously said it wants to see a consistent, two-to-four-week decline in new cases before reopening more.

Ford says even though Ontario extended its state of emergency Tuesday until June 30, it won't slow down the reopening process.

When asked specifically if restaurants may be able to open patios in stage two, Ford said it's one area he's looking at, and health officials will make those decisions within the week.

Ontario reported 338 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the total in the province to 29,047 _ an increase of 1.2 per cent over the previous day.

It includes 2,312 deaths, 19 over the previous day and 22,811 cases that have been resolved.