Haldimand and Norfolk counties will move to stage three of the province’s re-opening plan Friday, Premier Doug Ford has announced.

In stage three, social gathering limits increase to a maximum of 50 people indoors, and 100 outdoors.

Most businesses will be able to re-open with restrictions when owners feel it is safe to do so, including movie theatres, gyms and indoor dining.

Playgrounds are also permitted to open as of Friday and staff will be readying the playgrounds over the next number of days.

Residents should continue to practice social distancing, wash their hands frequently, and wear a face covering when maintaining distance is a challenge.

A framework for reopening our province: 

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario has taken coordinated, swift and decisive action to protect and support the health and well-being of people across the province. By working together and following the advice of public health officials, Ontario has made steady progress in the fight against this deadly virus and is on the path to recovery.

The government is continuing its gradual, staged approach to reopening Ontario, restarting the economy and easing the necessary restrictions that were put in place to contain the spread of the COVID‑19 outbreak, as outlined in A Framework for Reopening our Province. Guided by public health advice, robust testing and case and contact tracing, and lessons learned through the previous two stages, Ontario is confident and ready to gradually begin entering Stage 3. Building on the regional approach introduced in Stage 2, communities will move into Stage 3 when it is safe to do so, based on trends of key public health indicators.

Nearly all businesses and public spaces will be able to gradually reopen in Stage 3, with public health and workplace safety restrictions in place, while some high-risk venues and activities will remain closed until they can safely resume operations. Based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, indoor and outdoor gathering limits will also be increasedPhysical distancing remains a requirement for all people who are not from the same household or social circle.

In keeping with the gradual approach to reopening the province, Ontario will continue to monitor key public health indicators and some Stage 3 restrictions will be further eased over time when it is safe to do so.

Together, Ontario has made tremendous progress in the ongoing fight against COVID-19, thanks to the sacrifice and hard work of frontline heroes and volunteers, and the personal responsibility shown by the people of the province. Stage 3 does not mean that the fight against this deadly virus is over — far from it. Everyone must continue to be vigilant and follow public health advice and workplace safety guidelines. This will help limit outbreaks and reduce the risk of undoing the significant progress we have made together over the past several months.

The government’s priority is, and will continue to be, protecting people’s health and well-being while planning for recovery and growth. That is why it is essential that everyone continues to act responsibly and respectfully towards their fellow citizens by following the advice of public health officials.

As the province moves toward recovery, the government will continue to count on the dedication, innovation and spirit of the people of Ontario. Through everyday actions like buying made-in-Ontario products or safely shopping at local small businesses, together we will make Stage 3 a success and get Ontario’s economy growing again.

What Stage 3 means for you

Stage 3 is another significant step towards fully restarting our economy. In Stage 2, over 90 per cent of economic activity was enabled to resume, which resulted in employment increasing by 377,900 net new jobs in June, including 66,200 jobs in the manufacturing sector.

In Stage 3, more restrictions will be loosened and nearly all businesses and public spaces will reopen, as long as they follow the public health advice and workplace safety guidance necessary to keep everyone safe.

The Chief Medical Officer of Health, public health experts and other officials have advised the following high-risk places and activities are not yet safe to open, due to the likelihood of large crowds congregating, difficulties with physical distancing, or challenges maintaining the proper cleaning and sanitation required to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Amusement parks and water parks
  • Buffet-style food services
  • Dancing at restaurants and bars, other than by performers hired by the establishment following specific requirements
  • Overnight stays at camps for children
  • Private karaoke rooms
  • Prolonged or deliberate contact while playing sports
  • Saunas, steam rooms, bath houses and oxygen bars
  • Table games at casinos and gaming establishments.

All other businesses and public spaces will be permitted to be open, subject to ensuring the appropriate health and safety measures are in place, as well as limits on gathering sizes. More information on restrictions and gathering limits in Stage 3 is available below.

As more businesses and activities reopen, the Chief Medical Officer of Health and public health experts will continue to closely monitor the evolving situation to advise when more regions can enter Stage 3, if public health restrictions can be further loosened, or if they need to be tightened or reapplied.

Protecting our most vulnerable citizens must continue to be the top priority as Ontario enters Stage 3, and everyone will be responsible for taking the actions necessary to help contain the spread of COVID-19.