The province has announced what can open back up in stage one of its three-stage reopening plan.
Premier Doug Ford made the announcement this afternoon, “During the last several weeks, the people of Ontario have been called on to make incredible sacrifices to help us stop the spread of COVID-19, including staying home from work, closing down businesses, and going without a regular paycheque. However, we are reopening even more of our businesses beginning this long weekend. We are taking a cautious, balanced approach to our economic reopening, to protect the health and safety of everyone.”
On Saturday, May, 16th the following may open:
- Golf courses will be able to open, with clubhouses open only for washrooms and restaurants open only for take-out.
- Marinas, boat clubs, and public boat launches may open for recreational use.
- Private parks and campgrounds may open to enable preparation for the season and to allow access for trailers and recreational vehicles whose owners have a full season contract.
- Businesses that board animals, such as stables, may allow boarders to visit, care for, or ride their animal.
On Tuesday, May 19th Ontario will officially enter into stage one of reopening. That will include:
- Retail services that are not in shopping malls and have separate street-front entrances with measures in place that can enable physical distancing, such as limiting the number of customers in the store at any one time and booking appointments beforehand or on the spot.
- Seasonal businesses and recreational activities for individual or single competitors, including training and sports competitions conducted by a recognized national or provincial sport organization. This includes indoor and outdoor non-team sports competitions that can be played while maintaining physical distancing and without spectators, such as tennis, track and field, and horse racing.
- Animal services, specifically pet care services, such as grooming and training, and regular veterinary appointments.
- Indoor and outdoor household services that can follow public health guidelines, such as housekeepers, cooks, cleaning, and maintenance.
- Lifting essential workplace limits on construction. All construction will be allowed.
- Allowing certain health and medical services to resume, such as in-person counselling and scheduled surgeries based on the ability to meet pre-specified conditions, as well as resuming professional services such as shifting Children’s Treatment Centres from virtual to in-person.
Ford said, “Today’s news is good news, our efforts are paying off. If we follow the medical advice we will be able to open more up, but we need to stay vigilant and don’t ignore the advice of medical professionals.”
Ford stressed that businesses should only open if they are ready and not before, even though they are now allowed as of Tuesday.
Ford could not say when stage two will begin but did say there would be more announcements in “days to come” about restrictions like gathering in groups of more than five. When it comes to gathering with family and friends he said he understands how hard it is for everyone but he asked Ontarians, “Hang in there, just wait a little longer. We will get through it.”
For businesses that need to purchase personal protective equipment in order to reopen the province has launched a website to give businesses information about suppliers. That website can be found here.