'Get ready': Ontario premier unveils rules for businesses ahead of reopening
TORONTO -- Ontario has unveiled more than 60 labour guidelines businesses will need to follow as Premier Doug Ford stated the province is "getting close" to reopening.
The government said it released the sector-specific list of guidelines to protect workers, customers and the general public from the spread of COVID-19.
"There is a light at the end of the tunnel," Ford said Thursday at Queen's Park. "Today, we are telling our businesses how to be ready for when we get that green light."
"We are in the path to reopening the economy because that curve is flattening."
"We are getting close, get ready."
The government said the new safety guidelines will provide direction to various industries including retail, health care, manufacturing, tourism, restaurant and food service, offices, construction sites, and transit and transportation services.
"These guidelines will help Ontario businesses adapt to the new reality," Ford said.
The province has also hired 58 new inspectors, who will join hundreds of existing labour inspectors, to help enforce the guidelines. The province says they will be tasked with enforcing emergency measures, including physical distancing and the closure of non-essential workplaces.
"We will open things in phases as it becomes safe to do so, based on health and science," Ford said.
"All of these guidelines, taken together with our framework, provide a strong foundation to help get the province working again.”
On Monday, the premier unveiled a three-phase plan to reopen following weeks of shutdown.
While no specific dates have been offered up by provincial officials, the plan, dubbed "A Framework for Reopening our Province," states the parameters of each "gradual stage."
"This pandemic has turned our lives upside-down. It has put our will and resolve to the test but we are winning this fight and we will win this fight,” Ford said.
"Ontario will come out of this stronger than ever before."
The full list of sector-specific guidelines from Ontario's health and safety associations can be found here.