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Timmins and area won't be reopening Friday with the rest of the province: top doc

'The numbers are really clear there is no way we can reopen this week," says medical officer of health
2021-06-01 Lianne Catton Screenshot
Lianne Catton during a virtual media call earlier this month.

While Ontario is moving to the first stage of reopening this Friday, the Timmins area will have to wait a bit longer.

The province has announced that it will move to the first stage of its Roadmap to Reopening on Friday, June 11.

Porcupine Health Unit medical officer of health Dr. Lianne Catton said today the region won't be moving to the first stage, however.

“I think the numbers are really clear there is no way that we can reopen this week or within a week with the numbers we continue to see and the spread and outbreaks that we continue to see. We will not be moving on and I know that’s going to be very challenging and that the emotions are going to get even higher, the frustrations are going to be higher,” said Catton in a virtual update this afternoon.

The provincial stay-at-home order lifted last week. Since then, the provincial "emergency brake" has been in effect to restrict the opening of businesses and gathering of people.

Instead of returning to the regional colour-coded system the province was previously using, Ontario is now using a provincewide Roadmap to Reopening that is based on vaccination rates and other key public health measures.

Stage one is now scheduled to take effect in Ontario on June 11 at 12:01 a.m.

Local medical officers of health, however, can issue a section order to protect the health of a population, said Catton.

“That is the step that likely will be taken. What exactly that looks like we’re working through right now, but yes there will be local direction on where we are going and unfortunately, at this time it will not be opening further settings,” she said.

It is not known when the region will enter the reopening.

In the third wave of the pandemic, the Porcupine Health Unit has seen a record number of cases. 

The more transmissible Delta variant has also been confirmed in Timmins. The city has been under a state of emergency since May 17.

While case numbers are going down across the province, the numbers continue to increase locally.

As of yesterday, the region had confirmed 1,607 cases. Today's numbers haven't been reported yet, however, Catton indicated in the call there would be more announced today.

For the provincial reopening, the first vaccination measure is to have 60 per cent of adults with at least one dose of the vaccine for two weeks or longer. 

As of 8 p.m. June 6, 72 per cent of people in Ontario over the age of 18 years had received at least one dose.

Each phase of the reopening will be in place for at least 21 days. To move on to the next phase, provincial vaccination rate markers need to be met, as well as public health indicators set out by the province. 

Some of the activities allowed in phase one are:

  • Outdoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 10 people;
  • Outdoor religious services, rites, or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services, capped at the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres;
  • Indoor religious services, rites, or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services permitted at up to 15 per cent capacity of the particular room;
  • Non-essential retail permitted at 15 per cent capacity, with no restrictions on the goods that can be sold;
  • Essential and other select retail permitted at 25 per cent capacity, with no restrictions on the goods that can be sold;
  • Outdoor dining with up to four people per table, with exceptions for larger households;
  • Outdoor fitness classes, outdoor groups in personal training and outdoor individual/team sport training to be permitted with up to 10 people, among other restrictions;
  • Day camps for children permitted to operate in a manner consistent with the safety guidelines for COVID-19 produced by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health;
  • Overnight camping at campgrounds and campsites, including Ontario Parks, and short-term rentals;
  • Concert venues, theatres and cinemas may open outdoors for the purpose of rehearsing or performing a recorded or broadcasted concert, artistic event, theatrical performance or other performance with no more than 10 performers, among other restrictions;
  • Outdoor attractions such as zoos, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens with capacity and other restrictions.

 The province announced last week that schools will not reopen until September.


Maija Hoggett

About the Author: Maija Hoggett

Maija Hoggett is an experienced journalist who covers Timmins and area
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