The Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford has said that indoor dining and gyms in Toronto would be reopened on November 14, pending public health experts’ confirmation as Canada’s top doctor recommended the use of three-layer non-medical masks for the first time.
Ford’s announcement was part of a reopening blueprint unveiled recently and the announcement came at a time when COVID-19 case counts rise in Ontario and Canada at large. Though recent modeling that came out of Ontario suggests the rise will not overwhelm the capacity of hospitals in Toronto.
Ontario banned indoor dining and closed down fitness centres on October 10 for 28 days.
According to Chief Medical Officer, Theresa Tam, the seven-day rolling average of Canada’s new cases now surpasses 2,900.
For the first time, Tam recommended that people put on three-layer non-medical masks, with a middle filter layer, to help curb the spread of the disease.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canadians needed to act now to clamp down the transmission of a second wave of COVID-19 before it becomes unstoppable.
Trudeau said: “Right now, this virus is being given the chance to spread. The numbers are showing us that our window to turn this around is closing.”
Ford revealed that the framework will serve as an “early warning system” that will not let the government impose more restrictive measures and offer more certainty for households and businesses to control the second wave.
Ontario will use metrics which include weekly case counts per 100,000 people, hospitals capacity and contact tracing systems to determine whether to move a region from one stage of restriction to the next stage.
Ford said several regions of Ontario will migrate into the Restrict category on November 7 as long as the Ontario’s public health experts approve. The restrictions will limit the number of people allowed in – but not ban – movie theatres, indoor dining, fitness facilities and casinos.