Essex excluded from Stage 3 of reopening as seven more regions advance


More regions are moving into Stage 3 of Ontario's three-stage reopening plan, but Mississauga is not one of them.

Premier Doug Ford said Durham, Halton, Hamilton, Niagara, Haldimand-Norfolk, Sarnia-Lambton and York region will progress to the next stage on Friday, while Toronto, Peel, and Windsor-Essex will not move forward because of larger COVID-19 case counts.

While much of the province has moved to Stage 3, Toronto and other areas remain in Stage 2 for now.

For regions in Stage 3, gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 50 people indoors and a maximum of 100 people outdoors, with physical distancing in place.

Stage 3 allows for the resumption of indoor dining at restaurants and bars and the reopening of gyms, movie theatres and other businesses.

Restaurants are permitted to resume indoor service as long as tables are spaced two-metres apart to encourage physical distancing.

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Windsor-Essex was the last region in the province to advance to Stage 2, with Leamington and Kingsville advancing on July 7.

"While we want as many people back to work and taking home a paycheque again as possible, it's important for everyone ― no matter what stage your community is in ― to remain on guard and keep following the public health advice", Ford said.

Nightclubs will be allowed to serve food and drinks, with live entertainment, but dancing will not be permitted in indoor places.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 25 deaths locally while 260 cases of COVID-19 have been resolved.

On Monday, Windsor-Essex reported 18 new cases, with seven at agri-farms.

Toronto, Peel Region and Windsor-Essex Region will, however, remain in Stage 2 for at least another week with Ford asking residents of those cities to "please be patient".