As Doug Ford begins opening the province for the second time, residents of Ontario’s largest city are bracing for extended restrictions lasting until summer.
Premier Doug Ford is still cautious about the COVID-19 cases in Toronto, but has decided to start reopening businesses with heavy restrictions along with schools outside of the hot zones of Toronto, Peel, York and Windsor.
“Our goal is to open up the economy safely and all the couple of hot zones might be a week later,” Ford said. Three regions began easing restrictions Wednesday in eastern Ontario.
He continues to urge people to stay inside and follow COVID-19 restrictions to spur a quick decline in cases.
The stay-at-home order is still in effect for non-essential workers until businesses in Toronto are officially open. Earlier this month, the city council voted to extend its restrictions to June, including mandatory wearing of masks and enhanced measures on restaurants and pubs.
There continues to be a strain on the health care system and front-line workers even though the positive cases seem to be declining.
“Many healthcare workers have not had time off and have fear to bring ‘it’ home to their families,” said Paul Schaedlich, operations manager for Aramark Healthcare.
Hospitals have harsher protocols set in place to keep management and employees safe, and especially for unwell seniors who are visiting hospitals in Ontario.
“We utilize general precautions at all time, even prior to COVID-19,” Schaedlich said. “We have had enhanced measures remained in place for the entire duration of the pandemic. In fact, most of our protocols have become more strictly enforced.”
Many high school and post-secondary students remain online, but the stress of isolating indoors because of COVID-19 is starting to weigh down on them.
“It’s hard having classes online and staying home to take care of my siblings while they’re doing online school too,” said Valentina Joseph, an early childhood education student at Humber College.
The stress of being online and being isolated inside from friends and family can build up over time and cause concerning mental health problems.
“We still don’t know how long we’ll be in quarantine,” said Jessica Singh, a business administrative student at Sheridan College. “I hope people continue to listen to restrictions that are still in place so we can get back to the way thing were.”