NewsAlert:Ontario to begin phased reopening of economy next week: government source

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Ontario will begin to gradually reopen its economy next week, starting with regions that have lower rates of COVID-19.

A senior government source with knowledge of the decision says Premier Doug Ford will announce on Monday that the government won't extend a state of emergency set to expire Tuesday.

The source says regions will transition back to the government's colour-coded restrictions system over the next three weeks.

Until that happens, a stay-at-home order remains in effect.

Four public health regions with low transmission rates will move to the least-restrictive green category on Wednesday, allowing restaurants and non-essential businesses to reopen.

On the week of Feb. 15, all remaining regions except three hot spots in the Greater Toronto Area will move to the framework based on their local case rates.

Toronto, Peel Region and York Region will be the last to transition back into the restriction framework on the week of Feb. 22, but the source says any surge in cases could delay that plan.

The source says the government will also introduce an "emergency brake" that allows the province's top doctor to immediately move a region back into lockdown if cases spike.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 5, 2021.

The Canadian Press