Local golf courses scramble to meet pent-up demand as Ontario reopens

Province easing restrictions on some outdoor activities this weekend

Ontario, Quebec lay out reopening plan after COVID restrictions; Manitoba tightening

Leadership with the Northwestern Health Unit approves of Ontario's three-step reopening plan, but say they were hoping to see more of a regional approach for northwestern Ontario's public health restrictions.

The province will reopen outdoor amenities - including playgrounds, basketball courts and golf courses - on Saturday.

Premier Doug Ford says the province can start to loosen restrictions because COVID-19 case rates and hospitalizations continue to decline while vaccination rates increase.

The outdoor-gathering limit will be raised to 10 people, and outdoor dining will be allowed, with a limit of four people per table. Indoor personal-care services like hair and nail salons can operate with masking and capacity limits, and indoor religious gatherings will be permitted at 15 per cent capacity.

Step Three Expanding access to indoor settings, with restrictions, including where there are larger numbers of people and where face coverings can't always be worn.

The province will remain in each step for at least 21 days to evaluate any impacts on key public health and health system indicators.

The premier said his government had been working with science and medical experts to develop the province's reopening strategy. "There's also the fact COVID-19 cases could increase cases by 11 per cent if we open schools again, which is a huge concern for me".

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), a lobby group representing small businesses across the country, said it was "deeply disappointed" that the province would not allow an immediate reopening of "low-risk business activities, like shopping at small retailers, visiting hair and nail salons, gyms, and patio dining at restaurants".

"Any decision will be made with the utmost caution", said Minister of Health Christine Elliott. Meaning the second step isn't expected until the week of July 5.

The province's current stay-at-home order remains in effect until June 2.

There was no announcement on when in-class learning will resume for students. "It remains critical that all Ontarians continue to follow all public health and workplace safety measures now in place to help further reduce transmission and save lives".

Ontario has administered 7,576,624 vaccine doses (144,986 more than Wednesday).

The news comes as Ontario reports a record-high number of COVID-19 vaccine doses given out in a single day.

The Stay-at-Home order now in effect requires everyone to remain at home except for specified purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise, or for work that can not be done remotely.

Under Ontario's Reopening Act, the province will allow for the resumption of multiple outdoor recreational activities.

"I want to thank all Mississauga residents for doing their part to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and encourage those who haven't received their vaccine yet, to do so", Mayor Crombie added.

Clark County records 76 new COVID-19 cases, two new deaths