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Ontario Premier Doug Ford speaks at the legislature at Queen's Park, in Toronto, on June 22, 2020.Richard Lautens/The Canadian Press

Premier Doug Ford says Windsor-Essex will be allowed to move into Stage 2 of the province’s reopening plan Thursday.

The only exceptions will be the communities of Leamington and Kingsville, which have seen COVID-19 outbreaks among migrant workers.

Ford says he has a three-point plan to address the situation on the farms, including testing of workers and allowing asymptomatic positive workers to continue on the job, with safety provisions in place.

Windsor’s mayor said this week that the high number of COVID-19 cases on farms in Essex County was holding back the entire region, and the local economy could not face another week of delay in reopening.

Meanwhile, Toronto and Peel move into Stage 2 today, with hair stylists, pools and restaurant patios allowed to resume operations.

Ontario is reporting 163 new cases of COVID-19 today, and 12 more deaths.

That brings the province to a total of 34,016 cases, including 2,631 deaths and 29,336 resolved cases.

That’s 229 more resolved cases than the previous day, resuming a trend Ontario has seen over a couple of weeks of resolved cases growing more quickly than active ones, except for one day Tuesday.

The number of people in hospital with COVID-19, and those in intensive care and on ventilators all dropped, with the latter two figures falling to their lowest levels since the province started publicly reporting them at the beginning of April.

Ontario extended its state of emergency today to July 15, which Ford has said is hopefully the last extension.

Many of the emergency orders made under the state of emergency are expected to continue even after July 15, including bans on large gatherings.

After the state of emergency expires, the province won’t be able to make new emergency orders, amend them, or re-enact old ones, but existing ones can be extended.

Local medical officers of health will still have certain powers under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, which is what some have used to require masks in commercial establishments.

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