By Hayley Tubrett—

In the hours after Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced several new communities would move into Stage 3 of Ontario’s COVID-19 reopenings, several people took their concerns online.

At Ford’s COVID-19 update Monday, he announced that Toronto, Peel and Windsor-Essex would remain in Stage 2, while seven new regions would move to Stage 3 on Friday. The regions approved for Stage 3 are Durham, Halton, Hamilton, Niagara, Haldimand-Norfolk, Sarnia-Lambton, and York Region.

Some Twitter users said want the provincial government to not rush Stage 3 openings.

Other people were supportive about these seven new regions moving into Stage 3 for economic reasons.

“Time to get people off CERB and back to work,” wrote one One Twitter user.

But many people said they believe communities should not be moved to Stage 3 before the government announces a concrete plan for school reopenings. For the past week, the #schoolsbeforebars hashtag has been trending on Twitter, as people have shared their concerns over reopening bars and planning to send kids to school part-time in September.

In Monday’s press briefing, Ford said from what he’s seen in the regions that are already in Stage 3, businesses and restaurants are doing a great job following safety protocols. But he also urged Ontarians that the pandemic is not over yet.

“We have to make sure we’re ready for any scenario coming up to September . . . God forbid we ever get a second wave or flu season starts hitting us. We just want to be prepared, but we are really taking the advice of district school boards as well, along with our health teams,” he said.

Still some people are expressing disappointment that Toronto, Peel and Windsor-Essex remained in Stage 2. 

Ford said he is working with the mayors and health officials in those regions to assess their situations and find a way forward as quickly as possible.

“Please be patient,” he said. “We’ll get there very shortly.”.

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