Ontario is officially entering stage one in the reopening of the province on Tuesday, May 19, as announced by the premier during his daily COVID-19 update this afternoon. Additionally, as of 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, May 16, private parks, campgrounds, marinas, boat clubs, golf courses and businesses that board animals will be allowed to reopen.
“On Tuesday, May 19, we will enter the new stage, stage one in the reopening of our province. We can reopen retail stories with street entrances that are not located in shopping malls with strict social distancing measures in place,” said Premier Ford.
He made the announcement alongside Minister of Health Christine Elliott, Minister of Finance Rod Phillips, Minister of Economic Development Vic Fedeli and the Minister of Labour Monte McNaughton.
Along with retail stores, other areas included in the reopening are:
- All construction projects
- Vehicle dealerships and retailers
- Health and medical services such as scheduled surgeries and in-person counselling
- Libraries for pick-up or delivery
- Recreational sports centres for non-team sports such as tennis, cycling, riding
- Veterinary services by appointment only and other animal services such as grooming, dog walking and training
- Indoor and outdoor household services such as cleaning, housekeeping, painting, maintenance and repair services
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Individual sports competitions without spectators are also included in stage one. This includes indoor and outdoor non-team sports that allow for physical distancing measures such as water sports on outdoor bodies of water, racquet sports, track and field, figure skating, fencing, rock climbing and gymnastics.
Within the last week, provincial parks and conservation reserves have reopened, and retail stores with street entrances were allowed to reopen for curbside pickup and delivery. Minister Rod Phillips explained that more details will be released next week.
“In the coming days, you will hear about additional adjustments based on the evolving health situation including on social gatherings, child care and education,” said Phillips. “As we continue to make progress, we’ll monitor the public health measures necessary to move on to the next stage and we will announce more details on stage two and three based on best practices and lessons learned when the time is right.”
For businesses that have been given the green light to reopen starting Tuesday, the Minister of Labour Monte McNaughton said there are many guidelines that they must follow in order to keep people safe.
“We have issued now more than 90 guidelines for different workplaces. They cover offices, health-care settings, retail stores, construction sites, manufacturing plants, parks and campgrounds and many, many more,” said McNaughton.
In terms of when the province can continue moving forward to stage two, the premier said there is no date for that.
“We have to see a trend for a couple weeks, so there’s no time frame on stage two. We’ll take as long as it takes to get the numbers down consistently over a couple week period,” said Ford.