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Ontario's premier begs residents to 'be patient' about reopening economy


Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he is facing pressure to ease restrictions in the province and reopen the economy. The pressure comes after new data suggests that the community spread of COVID-19 cases may have peaked in the province.

There are more than 38,000 cases of COVID-19 in Canada. Of that, the hot spots are Quebec with more than 20,000 and Ontario with about 12,000.

The latest modeling data suggests that the wave of community spread cases has peaked, even though the spread in long-term care homes appears to be growing.

Health officials say the total number of cumulative cases for the span of the outbreak could be about 20,000, far from the 300,000 possible cases projected a month ago.

Premier Ford said he wants to get Ontario back to work, but he also wants to move forward cautiously.

"I’m getting lobbied hard by so many different groups and organizations. But it’s easy to say, 'Open, open, open' until we get a second wave of this and it bites us in the backside. And I just beg people to be patient,” he said.

Ford said his government has started working on a plan for a gradual, measured and safe reopening of the economy. It should be released in a few days.

He adds there would be multiple benchmarks that Ontario would have to reach before his government eases any restrictions. That would come after consultations with health officials, business associations and municipalities.

Also Tuesday, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice said it won't be resuming regular operations until September at the earliest. Civil and criminal matters were either suspended or adjourned until June in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19, but that waas extended another three months.

The decision to extend the closure of the United States to all but essential traffic for another 30 days has prompted Air Canada to cancel all flights to the States through May 21.  The airline is waiving flight-change fees for affected customers.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


WBFO’s comprehensive news coverage extends into Southern Ontario and Dan Karpenchuk is the station’s voice from the north. The award-winning reporter covers binational issues, including economic trends, the environment, tourism and transportation.
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