TORONTO -- The Ontario government has announced that certain businesses and workplaces can reopen on Monday with strict public health measures in effect.

The government said businesses permitted to reopen include seasonal businesses and some essential construction projects. 

"Right now, there are certain businesses and workplaces that can operate safety," Premier Doug Ford said Friday. "That means they can physically distance their staff and customers, they can put in physical barriers, they can provide contact-free services, or they work outside and are isolated." 

The premier said allowing some businesses to reopen follows advice from the province's chief medical officer of health. Ford said he also believes, in the near future, additional businesses will be allowed to reopen.

"We have made tremendous progress," Ford said. "We are flattening the curve, we are heading in the right direction."

Ford said today's announcement marks an "important starting point" in Ontario's path to reopening the economy.

"We can take today as a sign," he said. "Today's news shows us that if we stay the course, stay vigilant, and take a measured approach, we can keep moving in the right direction."

"We can keep moving ahead with the opening up of the economy. We still have a long way to go but today is a glimmer of hope."

The government said following proper health and safety guidelines, these businesses can reopen as of May 4 at 12:01 a.m.: 

  • Garden centres and nurseries with curbside pick-up and delivery only
  • Lawn care and landscaping
  • Additional essential construction projects that include: shipping and logistics, broadband, telecommunications, and digital infrastructure; any other project that supports the improved delivery of goods and services; municipal projects; colleges and universities; child care centres; schools; and site preparation, excavation, and servicing for institutional, commercial, industrial and residential development
  • Automatic and self-serve car washes
  • Auto dealerships, open by appointment only
  • Golf courses may prepare their courses for the upcoming season, but not open to the public
  • Marinas may also begin preparations for the recreational boating season by servicing boats and other watercraft and placing boats in the water, but not open to the public. Boats and watercraft must be secured to a dock in the marina until public access is allowed.

The news comes a day after the provincial government released a list of sector-specific guidelines industries must follow in order to reopen.

List of Ontario businesses that can reopen

The government said the new safety guidelines provide direction to various industries including retail, health care, manufacturing, tourism, restaurant and food service, offices, construction sites, and transit and transportation services.

The premier unveiled a three-phase plan on Monday to reopen following weeks of shutdown.The plan, dubbed "A Framework for Reopening our Province," states the parameters of each "gradual stage."

Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams was asked about which businesses may open next, to which he replied that the decision ultimately lies with the government.

"It depends on what the government decides," Williams said, adding that the process of reopening businesses is a "big job."

Ontario health officials confirmed 421 new cases of COVID-19 and 39 more deaths.

The new patients reported Friday bring the total number of novel coronavirus cases in Ontario to 16,608, including 1,121 deaths and 10,825 recoveries.