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Ontario economy to reopen 'in a trickle..some rules may loosen by Victoria Day' Doug Ford says

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he can't predict the future, but says a reopening of Ontario's economy isn't going to happen overnight.

Speaking to reporters at Queen's Park Wednesday afternoon, Ford clarified a suggestion that some COVID-19 emergency restrictions might be eased by the Victoria Day long weekend.

"Everything is conditional on the health and wellbeing of Ontario," Ford said. "What I was saying is can we start opening up a trickle of the economy. I gotta be very, very clear: there's never going to be one date that we just open up the economy. We're going to open it up with a trickle and just let it flow from there and constantly measure."

Earlier on Wednesday, speaking on Newstalk 580 CFRA's "The Morning Rush with Bill Carroll" in Ottawa, Ford said he and his team have been working on a framework for how to reopen the economy safely in the coming weeks and months and suggested some rules may loosen by Victoria Day.

Carroll asked Ford whether he sees Ontarians having more freedom to be social by the May long weekend than they do now. Ford replied in the affirmative.

"If we continue down the road we're going publicly, yes, we can see things loosening up a bit," Ford said. "People want hope."

In the afternoon, he reiterated his position that it would depend on how the statistics look, and clarified that the economy would not fully reopen by the long weekend.

"By no means are we going to have--for instance, the May 24th weekend--we're just going to open things up. That is absolutely not going to happen," Ford said. Ford has said he's been facing increasing pressure from businesses and even members of his own family to get people back to work, especially in light of new modelling released this week that suggests Ontario is in better shape than first predicted.

He tells CFRA his priority is protecting health and safety above all else.

"Our biggest fear, and the public's biggest fear, is a spike again and it comes back for a second wave. That's what keeps me up at night."

The state of emergency in Ontario is in effect until May 12. Victoria Day is May 18 this year.

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