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Sunday, August 30, 2020

There's no Stage 4 in Ontario and lots of uncertainty what comes next

When is Stage 4 in Ontario? The province has been in Stage 3 of reopening for about a month and we've consistently seen only about 100 new cases a day with no real spikes.

Sure, all of this could change when schools reopen but let's be optimistic here!

Stage 3 of re-opening still has a number of limitations, such as no buffets or private karaoke rooms, but if the numbers of cases continue to decline those limitations might start to go away too. 

So what types of changes might we expect?  

While I am but a mere mortal with no psychic powers to predict the future, I do think we can look to other provinces who are further ahead in the reopening process to see what might happen in Toronto. 

For example, in Saskatchewan, which recently went into their Phase 4 of reopening, they let overnight camps and recreational activities start up again. 

Travel restrictions could become less strict like we've seen in Atlantic Canada. People who live Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island can now travel within those provinces without self-isolating for 14 days. 

Maximum capacities might also change. In Atlantic Canada provinces restaurants are allowed to operate at full capacity as long as physical distancing is still possible. 

There might also be changes to the long-term care homes rules. 

For example, as of September 1st P.E.I is no longer going to limit the number of visitors or the length of time of the visit at long-term residences. 

We may even see isolation times decrease like in Quebec. They recently lowered the time you need to isolate from two weeks to 10 days if the person has no fever for 48 hours and is free from other symptoms, except coughing or loss of taste, for 24 hours. 

Other restrictions currently in place like those on mass attended events like concerts and sports, amusement parks and nightclubs are also ones that would likely be updated as part of a Stage 4.

That being said if numbers spike again there's a good chance everything will go in the opposite direction and we may be looking at stage 2-like restrictions again. 

The official word from local and provincial governments is there is no plan for Stage 4. In the province's recovery roadmap, they haven't produced any guidelines beyond Stage 3.

When I reached out to Toronto Public Health for comment, they told me it was the Ontario government's jurisdiction. But when I contacted authorities with the province, they insisted they had no information and referred me to Toronto Public Health.

So in the absence of any concrete information about when Stage 4 might happen and what it might look like, let's just agree it's best to keep washing our hands, wearing our masks and staying at least two-meters from people so that we don't get another lockdown.

by Misha Gajewski via blogTO

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