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Ontario reopens: PM Doug Ford to announce easing of COVID-19 restrictions




Prime Minister Doug Ford will announce Ontario’s plan to gradually lift the COVID-19 restrictions imposed earlier this month.

Ford will join Health Minister Christine Elliott and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kieran Moore to make the announcement at 11:30 a.m. Thursday.

See the Fords announcement live on or on the CTV News app.

According to sources, Ford will announce a gradual easing of restrictions that will begin on January 31 and continue until February.

Ford is expected to announce that it will replace total business closures with capacity constraints, similar to those in force before the last closure. Domestic dining will be allowed to reopen at 50 per cent capacity, sources said.

Sources also said Ford is pushing for a full economic reopening by March.

On Wednesday, Ford said “restaurants, gyms and other people” should expect a positive announcement from the province later this week.

This is the second time Ford has referred to the “positive news” coming soon about easing the province’s current public health restrictions.

Indoor dining and gyms have been closed in Ontario since Jan. 5, when the government introduced a circuit breaker to curb the explosive growth of the Omicron variant.

Elliott said Wednesday that Omicron’s cases in Ontario are expected to peak this month, with a peak of hospitalizations and ICU admissions.

Many business owners have expressed their frustration with the recent round of closures and say the lack of information about the next steps of reopening is making it difficult for them to operate.

Ontario confirmed Wednesday that 4,132 people are in hospital with COVID-19, and 589 of them are in intensive care.

The province reported 5,744 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, but health officials have warned the number is an understatement due to testing limitations and unresolved numbers.




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