Ontario is allowing gyms and recreation centres to increase their capacity limits as of tomorrow at 12:01 a.m. with additional public health restrictions.
Premier Doug Ford made the announcement Friday afternoon as the province confirmed an additional 92 cases of COVID-19.
"The time is right to open up our province a little more and help people get active again," Ford said.
"Up to 50 people will be allowed per room with physical distancing limits in place."
We want to help businesses get back on their feet, premier says
The premier noted that many gyms and fitness centres are often run by small business owners who employ many people, and can be vital parts of their communities.
"We want to help every business we can get back on their feet and recover, to serve residents and hire back more workers," he said.
Today's figure includes two days worth of data from Toronto Public Health after a reporting blip yesterday. Toronto saw a total of 30 new cases on Wednesday and Thursday, the Ministry of Health says.
In today's update, Peel saw another 17 infections of the novel coronavirus, while Ottawa had seven and Windsor-Essex six. The rest are primarily spread out through southern parts of the province.
All of the figures used in this story are found in the Ministry of Health's daily update, which includes data from up until 4 p.m. the previous day. The number of cases for any particular region on a given day may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit, which often avoid lag times in the provincial system.
$8M coming for sports programs
Meanwhile, Ford said the province has been working around the clock to make sure sports and recreation can get back up and running safely.
He said as kids get ready to head back to school in September, every effort is being made to get them back to the sports they love.
"That's why I'm pleased to announce today, our government is providing $8 million through the Ontario Amateur Sports Fund," Ford said.
"This funding will ensure these organizations continue delivering safe and quality sports programs for kids and amateur athletes, as parents head back to work and students head back to the classroom this September."
Ford said these changes and investments will help everyone stay safe, active and healthy.
Lisa MacLeod, minister of heritage, sport, tourism and culture, pointed to the unifying power of sports, saying it is worth investing in and protecting.
"Sport and recreation is an important driver in Ontario's economy, contributing more than $12 billion and thousands of jobs to the province's bottom line," she said.
Regarding the $8 million announced by the premier, MacLeod said, "It is another step we are taking to support athletes to return to play, and in some cases prepare them for the podium.
"This is an important step for Ontario's economic and social recovery," she added.
Ontario has now seen a total of 40,459 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the outbreak began in late January. Of those, nearly 91 per cent are considered resolved. Another 83 were marked resolved in today's update.
There are currently some 899 confirmed, active infections provincewide.
For the first time since the province began reporting hospitalization data on April 1, the number of patients in Ontario hospitals with COVID-19 being treated with a ventilator fell to single digits, with just nine. A further 17 patients are being cared for in intensive care units.
The province's network of about 30 community, commercial and hospital labs processed 30,137 test samples for the novel coronavirus, the most on a given day since Aug. 2. Another 35,426 samples were added to the queue to be completed.
Meanwhile, Ontario's official COVID-19 death toll grew by one and now stands at 2,788. A CBC News count based on data from public health units puts the real toll at 2,825.