Ontario significantly expands list of businesses that can soon reopen
TORONTO -- Ontario has unveiled what the first stage of the province's recovery phase will look like when a large number of businesses can reopen on May 19.
The government laid out the plan in their "Framework for Reopening our Province" on Thursday.
"Today’s news is good news," Premier Doug Ford said at Queen's Park today. "Our efforts are paying off. If we follow the medical advice, if we take our time and get it right we'll be able to open more businesses and get more people back to work."
"As we get more and more people back to work, the risk of flare-ups is real so we need to be vigilant."
"We have a long way to go, we have a long road to recovery but let's take some time today and be grateful for how far we all have come."
Ahead of the official start of stage one, on May 16, golf courses can reopen, with clubhouses open only for washrooms and restaurants open only for take-out.
In addition, marinas, boat clubs and public boat launches are allowed to reopen 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.
What stage one means for Ontario
The government said the first stage of their reopening plan will focus on workplaces that are well-positioned to follow public health advice and maintain physical distancing.
Ford said he wanted to "make it clear" that businesses should only reopen if they are ready.
"We need to stay vigilant; we can't take our progress for granted. We can't ignore the health advice, we need to be ready to responds and we will be ready," Ford said.
Industry Services and Retail
- Lifting essential workplace limits on construction and resuming all construction projects
- Opening retail stores that have a separate street-front entrance, located outside of shopping malls, with restrictions to enable physical distancing
- Open motor vehicle dealerships, including new and used cars and trucks, as well as motorcycle, boats and other motor and recreational vehicles, such as ATVs
- Allowing media operations to resume like music recordings, including production, distribution, publishing and studios, interactive digital media, film and television post-production. It also includes animation studios and publishing, including newspapers, video games and books
- Opening non-essential professional services related to conducting research and experimental development in physical, engineering and life sciences, such as biotechnology, agriculture and industrial research and development labs
- Allowing emissions inspection facilities to conduct heavy vehicle emissions testing
Outdoor, reactional and seasonal activities
- Seasonal businesses such as golf driving ranges, recreational services at marinas, rod and gun clubs and cycling tracks
- Allowing sport activity for individual/single competitors, including training and competitions conducted by a recognized Provincial Sport Organization, National Sport Organization, or recognized national provincial training centres. This includes indoor and outdoor non-team sport competitions that can be played while maintaining physical distancing and without spectators
Care, community and household services
- Gradually restarting health-care services, including hospitals, independent health facilities, clinics and private practices providing scheduled surgeries and procedures
- Supporting services for surgeries and procedures
- In-person counselling, including psychology and addiction counselling
- Resuming in-person services, in addition to viritual services, delivered by health professionals such as Children's Treatment Centres
- Allowing services for animals and pets to resume, including pet care like grooming, pet sitting, pet training and regular veterinary appointments
- Opening libraries for pickup or deliveries
- Allowing indoor and outdoor household services that can follow public health guidelines to resume, including: domestic services, such as housekeepers and cooks
- Lifting essential workplace limits on maintenance, repair and property management services, such as cleaning, painting, and pool maintenance
The next steps
In late April, the provincial government unveiled a three-step plan to gradually reopen the economy. The framework included three phases: protect and support, restart and recover. Ontario has been under phase one of the plan since April, which included focusing on protecting the health and well-being of individuals and families, as well as supporting frontline health-care workers.
The recovery phase of the governments framework, which Ontario is about to enter, includes three stages. Each stage allows the gradual relaxation of existing closures and restrictions across the province.
In stage two, Ontario would open even more workplaces and outdoor spaces and allow larger gatherings. When the province reaches stage three, the government will relax restrictions further on public gatherings and open all workplaces.
Large public gatherings, such as concerts and sporting events will continue to be restricted for "the foreseeable future."
Each of the three stages will be monitored by health officials for two to four weeks.
Under the current emergency order, gatherings of more than five people, not from the same household, are illegal. Ford said on Thursday that Ontario is not ready to expand the number of people who can gather.
Ontario recorded the lowest number of new COVID-19 cases in the province in more than six weeks on Thursday.
Health officials reported 258 new cases of the disease, bringing the total to 21,494.
This is the lowest number of new cases in a single-day since March 29, when 211 new cases were reported.