More regions of Ontario will be moving into Stage 3 of the province’s reopening plan on Friday, but Toronto, Peel Region, and Windsor-Essex will still have to wait.
Premier Doug Ford announced Monday that Durham, Halton, and York regions, along with Hamilton, Niagara, Haldimand-Norfolk, and Sarnia-Lambton will move to Stage 3 at 12:01 a.m. on Friday.
Ford said Toronto, Peel, and Windsor-Essex will not move ahead because all three have larger case counts of COVID-19 than other regions.
Windsor-Essex was the last region to enter Stage 2 as the area dealt with a boom of numbers in the agriculture industry.
Last week Premier Doug Ford announced that the majority of the province would enter the next phase of reopening on Friday, but the GTHA, Niagara region and Windsor-Essex were left back in Stage 2.
Stage 3 rules would allow restaurants to resume indoor service, as well as businesses such as bars, gyms and theatres to start welcoming patrons again.
The rules also raise the limits on the size of indoor gatherings to a maximum of 50 people, while as many as 100 people are allowed to congregate outdoors.
Restaurants are permitted to resume indoor service as long as tables are spaced two-metres apart to encourage physical distancing.
Fitness facilities, movie theatres, and casinos are also permitted to reopen under Stage 3 rules.
Mayor John Tory has called on the province to implement additional measures for bars and indoor dining before the city is allowed to enter Stage 3.
Ontario reported more than 160 new COVID-19 cases on both Saturday and Sunday. In the previous eight days, the number of new cases had not exceeded 130.
Correction: This is a corrected story. A previous version incorrectly stated that only Toronto, Peel, and Windsor-Essex remained in Stage 2