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Ontario child-care centres to reopen Friday


June 9, 2020
By Allison Jones/The Canadian Press

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TORONTO — Child-care centres in Ontario will be allowed to reopen Friday with a long list of restrictions in place, including on the number of people per room, extra cleaning and screening measures

Supports need to be in place so people can return to work, as much of the province enters Stage 2 of reopening on Friday, Premier Doug Ford said.

“In this unprecedented time all parents and guardians have had the increased challenge of balancing work and family in this new normal,” he said. “It is no easy task in normal days, but now more than ever I know it’s even tougher.”

The reopening announcement applies across the province, even though many areas — such as the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area and some regions that border the United States — do not yet have the green light to enter Stage 2.

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Opening safely may take time

Education Minister Stephen Lecce acknowledged that with Friday just three days away, many centres may not be able to reopen that quickly.

“I appreciate some operators will want to take the time to do the proper training to open up and that may take them some days and we respect that,” he said.

Operators will be required to limit the number of kids and staff in a defined space to 10 people, and existing legal requirements for ratios of children to staff will remain in place.

Rules for reopening child cares will be similar to the emergency ones that have been operating for kids of essential workers, including increased cleaning, no visitors allowed in the centre, and screening all staff and children for symptoms prior to entry.

Lecce said he knows not all parents will decide to send their kids back to child care while the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing, so the province is extending an order that they won’t lose their spot or be charged fees during this time.

Meanwhile, Ontario is reporting 230 new COVID-19 cases today, and 14 more deaths.

That brings the total in the province to 31,090, an increase of 0.7 per cent over the previous day, which is the lowest growth rate since early March.

The total includes 2,464 deaths and 24,829 resolved cases, which is 337 more than the previous day.