KITCHENER -- Nearly all businesses in Waterloo Region will be able to reopen on Friday as most of Ontario enters Stage 3 of the province's Economic Recovery Plan.

There are signs of hope as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Region of Waterloo Public health announced just two new cases on Tuesday, and have reduced their weekly media briefings to one.

When the region enters Stage 3 on Friday, there will be a big increase in social gathering limits.

If you're inside, up to 50 people can gather, and up to 100 people will be able to get together outside.

In either case, though, physical distancing must still be maintained between people who aren't in the same social circle.

"We are able to open to Stage 3 because of your efforts to date," Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang said during Tuesday morning's media briefing.

"But we continue to have a collective responsibility, each of us, to do what we can to continue to slow the spread of COVID-19. We must continue to protect each other and we must move forward with the utmost vigilance."

Gyms, indoor dining, playgrounds, community centres and libraries are just some of the places that will be allowed to reopen.

Some high-risk businesses, meanwhile, will stay closed, like amusement and water parks, buffets and nightclubs.

There have been a total of 1,346 cases of COVID-19 in Waterloo Region to date, including 1,179 that have been resolved and 118 that have died.

There are 49 active cases remaining, while the region declared a new outbreak at a long-term care home on Monday.

That outbreak, which was declared at PeopleCare Hilltop Manor, is the first active outbreak in the past week. One staff member has tested positive for the virus there.