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Toronto, Peel to enter Stage 3 on Friday

Last Updated Jul 29, 2020 at 10:36 am EDT

A man wears a mask as he exits a Toronto Transit Commission subway station in Toronto on Thursday July 2, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Windsor-Essex will be the only region in Ontario to remain in Stage 2

Two dozen of Ontario's 34 public health units entered Stage 3 on July 17, with another 7 joining them on July 24

More businesses and public spaces in Toronto and nearby Peel Region will be able to reopen on Friday as those areas join most of Ontario in Stage 3 of the government’s COVID-19 recovery plan.

But the province says the Windsor-Essex region, which has been grappling with outbreaks on farms, will remain in Stage 2 for the time being.

In a release issued this morning, the province says it will continue to monitor the situation in Windsor-Essex and provide assistance through measures such as on-farm testing.

The three areas had been held back in Stage 2 because officials said they wanted more data before giving the green light for a broader reopening.

Twenty-four of Ontario’s 34 public health units were allowed to enter Stage 3 on July 17, with another seven joining them on July 24.

In Stage 3, nearly all businesses and public spaces can reopen, with health measures in place, and people can gather in larger groups.

“While more restaurants, theatres and businesses can hang up their Open for Business sign, we’re asking everyone to follow public health advice and act responsibly,” Premier Doug Ford said in a statement.

“We have made tremendous progress that allows us to return to something a little closer to our normal lives this summer, but we are not out of the woods yet. This virus is still among us and we have to be extra cautious to avoid sparking a surge or an outbreak. I strongly urge everyone to continue following public health protocols.”

Two cities in Stage 3, Ottawa and Sudbury, have seen new cases of COVID-19 emerge in recent days, but Ford said Tuesday there are no plans to roll back the reopening in any areas.