Ontario to begin phased reopening of the economy next week, according to sources

Reopening in Simcoe Muskoka expected week of Feb. 15

Cautiously and gradually is how the Ford government intends to reopen Ontario’s economy next week.

A senior government source tells the Canadian Press Premier Ford will announce on Monday the province won’t extend the state of emergency set to expire Tuesday.

According to the plan, the government will return regions to the COVID-19 colour code restrictions. The province will have an “emergency brake” in place that allows Ontario’s top doctor to immediately lockdown again if things get out of control.

The phased reopening of the economy will start in in four regions where transmission of the virus is low.

Health units in Hastings, Prince Edward, Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington, Renfrew County, and Timiskaming are expected to move into the least-restrictive green zone on Wednesday, which means restaurants and non-essential businesses can reopen.

Beginning the week of Feb. 15, all remaining regions except the three Greater Toronto Area hotspots will reopen based on their local case rates.

The source tells the Canadian Press that Toronto, York Region and Peel Region will be the last to transition starting the week of Feb. 22.