Canadian province of Ontario to announce Stage 3 reopening details on Monday

TORONTO: Ontario Premier Doug Ford will announce details on Monday about the province's third stage of reopening, his office said on Sunday (Jul 12), a step likely to end most restrictions introduced in March to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Stage 3 will allow "most remaining workplaces and community spaces" to reopen, according to the province's website, although "large public gatherings will continue to be restricted."

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Canada's most-populous province and the country's economic engine laid out a three-stage framework in April for reopening, allowing the whole province into the first stage on May 19. Many regions in the province were able to move to Stage 2 on Jun 12, which allowed for the reopening of restaurant patios and hair salons.

But harder-hit areas – including densely populated Toronto, and Windsor Essex, a region near the Ontario-Michigan border with clusters of cases among agricultural workers – were not able to graduate to the second stage until late June and early July.

Ontario, with a population of 14.6 million, reported 129 new COVID-19 cases and three deaths on Saturday, according to public health agency data. Ontario has the second-highest number of cases and deaths behind Quebec.

Canada has reported 107,347 cases since the pandemic began, including 8,773 deaths, according to the latest government data.

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