Ontario Premier Doug Ford is set to unveil his government’s roadmap for “re-opening” the province after COVID-19 forced a widespread shutdown of non-essential businesses and services.
Ford is scheduled to hold a news conference at 1:30 p.m. ET. He will be joined by Minister of Health Christine Elliott, Minister of Finance Rod Phillips and Vic Fedeli, minister of economic development, job creation and trade.
The premier first declared a state of emergency in Ontario on March 17, an order that has been extended several times in the weeks since. It is currently expected to remain in place until at least mid-May, and last week Ford played down the possibility that people could expect to see a return to normalcy by the Victoria Day long weekend.
Businesses deemed non-essential by the government remain closed, as do other services like child-care centres, libraries, recreation facilities and places of worship.
Watch: The three key things that must happen before Ontario eases COVID-19 restrictions
Further, Stephen Lecce, Ontario’s minister of education, announced over the weekend that publicly-funded schools will stay closed until at least May 29.
The framework to re-opening the province comes one-week after public health officials said that models suggest community spread of the novel coronavirus in Ontario “appears to have peaked” and that the daily count of new cases is expected to decline in coming weeks.
They added, however, that the situation in the province’s long-term care facilities and other congregate settings, such as shelters and jails, continues to get worse.
Ontario has confirmed 14,332 cases of COVID-19 since the outbreak began in late January. Slight more than 55 per cent of those cases have been resolved, according to the Ministry of Health.
The death toll from the disease currently sits at 948, based on data compiled from regional public health units.
Some 252 people infected by the novel coronavirus are being treated in intensive care units, while 195 of those patients are on ventilators.
The Ministry of Health’s updated daily summary of COVID-19 in Ontario is expected at around 10:30 a.m.