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Premier Ford announces social gatherings of 10 people are allowed starting Friday

The premier announced the details for the stage two reopening of the province in his daily press conference this afternoon. The province will enter a regional approach where much of Ontario will be able to enter stage two on Friday, June 12, while the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) will remain in stage one. However all Ontarians will be allowed to gather in groups of 10 with physical distancing practices in place starting Friday.

“Today we are taking the next step. It starts this Friday, June the 12th at 12:01 a.m. with increasing the limits on social gatherings from five to 10 people,” said Premier Ford. “I know that staying apart from our friends and loved ones has been one of the hardest parts of the last few months, and hopefully today‚Äôs announcement will bring some relief.”

As well, places of worship across the province will be allowed to operate at 30 per cent building capacity starting Friday.

“These are important steps to getting life back to normal,” said Ford.

For residents of the GTHA and border regions, these two changes are the only restrictions that will be lifted this Friday. However, the rest of the province will fully enter stage two of reopening which includes:

  • Wedding venues with ceremonies of no more than 10 people
  • Personal care services such as beauty salons, barber shops and day spas with the exception of providing any face-related services
  • Indoor shopping malls with food courts restricted to takeout services only
  • Outdoor dining at restaurants and bars
  • Summer day camps and child care centres

Of the province’s 34 public health units, 24 will be allowed to enter stage two on Friday, while the remaining 10 will continue to be monitored by Ontario’s chief medical officer of health and the province’s command table.

“We will continue to keep a close eye on regions that will not open this Friday, and we need just a little more time,” said Ford. “I am confident that the rest of the province will get to stage two very, very soon.”

The 10 public health units that are not allowed to enter stage two are: Toronto, York, Peel, Windsor-Essex County, Niagara, Lambton, Hamilton, Halton, Durham and Haldimand-Norfolk. However, there are no travel restrictions prohibiting residents in these regions from travelling to other parts of the province that are in stage two.

“We opened up the camping grounds, both Ontario campgrounds and private campgrounds, so they can travel,” said Ford. “But when it comes to haircuts, I’m hanging in here right to the last minute, until we change over to stage two in Toronto, the GTA and some other regions.”

In terms of when these 10 public health units will be allowed to enter stage two, the province will provide an update on the ongoing assessment of these regions at the beginning of each week, and whether they are ready to move into stage two at the end of the week.

Ford also announced that he has ordered legislation to ban commercial evictions for those who qualify for the commercial rent relief program. The ban will take effect for evictions on or after June 3 and last until August 31.

“I was clear with commercial landlords. You have to be fair, and help out everyone, but we still heard about some landlords who just didn’t get the message,” he said.

For a full list of restrictions that are lifted in stage two and businesses that are allowed to reopen, click here.

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO