It’s Step 1 Reopening Day in Ontario – Full COVID-19 Update

It’s Step 1 Reopening Day in Ontario – Full COVID-19 Update

Today is Step 1 reopening day in Ontario. As of midnight, restaurants are now allowed to reopen for outdoor dining only. Outdoor fitness classes can resume and bigger outdoor gatherings are now allowed. Non-essential items at essential stores can be sold again and retail stores deemed non-essential are allowed to open up again. All activities remain subject to capacity limits and other public health measures. Businesses like hair salons, personal services, gyms, and more will remain closed until at least July 2.

Several Areas Getting Accelerated Second Doses:

Health Minister Christine Elliott says the province is accelerating second doses of COVID-19 vaccine in regions where the highly infectious Delta variant is taking off. Hot spot residents who got their first shots on or before May 9th will be able to book appointments for second doses starting Monday. That will shorten the gap for those who got Moderna and Pfizer shots to as little as four weeks where supplies are available. The high risk public health units include: Halton, Peel, Porcupine, Toronto, Waterloo, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph and York Region.  But Elliott says the province is sticking to a 12-week interval for second doses of AstraZeneca, based on the best available scientific and medical evidence.

Here is the media release: CLICK HERE (You will be redirected)

FAO Says Premier Ford Unlikely to Be Able To Balance His Budgets This Decade:

Ontario’s fiscal watchdog says the province’s economy will rebound over the next two years but the government is unlikely to reach its goal of a balanced budget by the start of the next decade. The Financial Accountability Office has released a report on the province’s spring economic and budget outlook, assessing the financial picture as the province starts to emerge from the pandemic. If the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, the report projects real gross domestic product will rise by 5.8 per cent this year and four per cent next year. But the FAO says economic growth could be slower if public health measures and vaccinations fail to contain a resurgence of the virus.

New Ontario Modeling Data:

Yesterday the latest Ontario modeling data was released. It indicates positive trends but cautions about the Delta variant that is circulating.

The Cost of Student Federal Supports:

The parliamentary budget office is estimating that the Liberals’ revamped student-aid package could end up costing half-a-billion dollars more than the government expects. The Liberals proposed a sweeping package in the April budget to ease student loan costs and expand a non-repayable grant program for tens of thousands of post-secondary students and recent graduates. In all, the budget estimated the various measures combined would cost just over $4.5-billion-dollars over five years. Parliamentary budget officer Yves Giroux’s officials estimate the actual cost for the overall package may be closer to $5-billion-dollars.

The Border Reopening Could Be in Jeopardy If The CBSA Strikes:

A union representing 9,000 Canadian Border Service Agency personnel says Canada-US border re-opening plans are in jeopardy as their workers prepare for strike votes starting next week. The Public Service Alliance of Canada says its members will begin strike votes on Wednesday and continue throughout the month. It says members have been without a contract for nearly three years.

Air Canada Bringing Back Employees:

Air Canada has announced plans to recall 2,600 employees in stages this month and in July. Spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick says the airline is preparing for an increase in travel demand as vaccinations increase, COVID-19 cases decline and governments ease restrictions. He says the recall is part of efforts to rebuild the airline’s network after it laid off tens of thousands of workers as the pandemic swept Canada. Air Canada says the employees being recalled are in various roles, including flight attendants.

Transat Is Ready To Fly Again:

Transat AT says it will resume flights on July 30th after suspending operations in late January when Ottawa asked Canadian airlines not to travel to sun destinations. The company made the announcement as it reported its net loss at $103.3-million dollars, compared with an adjusted loss of $38.8-million a year ago.

The Zoo Reopens Today:

The Toronto Zoo is reopening today and tickets are on sale now. Only outdoor spaces will be open during the first stage of Ontario’s reopening plan. The zoo says that wearing masks onsite is mandatory when near the animal viewing spaces.

Manitoba Reopening Plans:

Manitoba’s re-opening plan will see the province loosen public health restrictions as more people get a COVID-19 vaccination. The government focuses on four categories: gatherings, travel, shopping and dining. The first immunization target is to have over 70 per cent of Manitobans 12 and older with a first dose and over 25 per cent with a second dose by Canada Day. If that happens, the province says it will loosen some capacity restrictions on businesses and other facilities.

Canada Numbers:

New COVID-19 infections announced on Thursday totalled 1,479 as case counts across the country continue to ebb. Health officials also say there are 19,253 active cases being tracked.

Ontario Numbers:

There were 590 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Ontario yesterday and 11 more deaths linked to the virus. Health Minister Christine Elliott said there were 130 new cases in Peel Region, 114 in Toronto, and 61 in Waterloo. There were 38 new cases in Hamilton and 32 in York Region. More than 182,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered, for a total of more than 10.6 million.

Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:

63 new COVID-19 cases were reported yesterday by Waterloo Region Public Health. The number of active cases increased by 41 to 383. There are still 34 people hospitalized with 23 in the ICU.

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health announced 12 new cases yesterday. Active cases is now down to 100 and hospitalizations are down to 10, with 3 in intensive care.

Contains files from The Canadian Press

Photo Credit: Government of Ontario

After 9 Podcast - 91.5 The Beat