Happening a week later than much of the rest of the province, Hamilton has officially entered Stage Three of the Ontario government’s plan to gradually reopen the economy amid COVID-19.
The phased approach to reopening has allowed the provincial government and public health to monitor the status of COVID-19 across the province while also allowing businesses and services to safely reopen.
As part of Stage Three, dine-in restaurants are permitted to open their interiors to guests once again, gyms and fitness centres can reopen, and the limits on physically distanced public gatherings has increased to 50 people indoor and 100 people outdoors.
What you need to know as Hamilton enters Stage 3 of the province's reopening plan | CBC News https://t.co/mxcm3lPVM2
— Wilma Seville (@WilmaSeville) July 24, 2020
The 10-person social circles, which were designed by the province to allow residents to make close social contact with a group of the same 10 consenting people, are still in effect until further notice.
All of these reopenings still require proper health & safety guidelines to be strictly adhered to, including practicing physical distancing, wearing a mask or face covering in enclosed public spaces, frequently washing your hands, and staying home if you feel unwell.
It’s also important to remember that, while the reopenings are poised to positively impact the economy, they are also still filled with potential risks: COVID-19 still has no reliable treatment or vaccine, and the numbers of cases still stand to climb if activities in Stage Three aren’t handled or approached safely. Such setbacks could potentially knock Hamilton, or even the whole province, backwards in its progress.
In fact, many establishments citywide that have been given the go-ahead to relax restrictions are opting to hold off on doing so; at least until more data emerges regarding how Stage Three ultimately impacts the community.
To date, Hamilton has seen 881 total confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19, with 44 deaths and 15 known active cases.