Ontario announces additional workplaces allowed to reopen amid COVID-19 pandemic

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At a May 14 press conference, Ontario Premier Doug Ford discussed additional measures to help cope with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and the Ontario government announced the retailers, seasonal businesses and health and community service providers who will be permitted to open or expand their services on Tuesday, May 19, 2020, at 12:01 a.m.

Today's update was provided by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade and Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development.

While garden centres, nurseries, hardware stores and safety supply stores began offering in-store purchasing last weekend, it was announced today that some additional businesses are permitted to reopen, provided that the general trend on health indicators continues to improve as part of the first stage of the government’s reopening framework.

The Ontario government also announced that additional seasonal services and activities will be permitted to open as early as Saturday, May 16, 2020, at 12:01 a.m., ahead of the Victoria Day long weekend, as key public health indicators continue to show progress.                   

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,” said Premier Ford.

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.”

As soon as 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, May 16, 2020, golf courses will be able to open, with clubhouses open only for washrooms and restaurants open only for take-out.

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 and businesses that board animals, such as stables, may allow boarders to visit, care for or ride their animal.

Marinas, boat clubs and public boat launches may also open for recreational use.

The government’s responsible and measured approach to reopening will allow business owners and service providers time to ensure workplaces are safe for staff, consumers and the general public.

Assuming trends in key public health indicators continue to improve, Ontario’s first stage of reopening will begin on Tuesday, May 19, 2020, at 12:01 a.m. and will include retail services that are not in shopping malls and have separate street-front entrances, seasonal businesses and recreational activities for individual or single competitors, including training and sports competitions conducted by a recognized national or provincial sport organization, such as indoor and outdoor non-team sports competitions that can be played while maintaining physical distancing.

It will also include 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 and lifting essential workplace limits on construction.

Additionally, it will allow 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 outlined in A Measured Approach to Planning for Surgeries and Procedures During the COVID-19 Pandemic and resume professional services such as shifting Children’s Treatment Centres from virtual to in-person.

We are taking a cautious, practical and reasonable approach to restarting the economy while maintaining the health and safety of the people of Ontario as our top priority,” said Minister Phillips.

This will allow Ontario to emerge from this outbreak with a clear path to economic recovery that keeps people safe and healthy.”

To ensure that these preliminary steps to reopen the province are a success, the public should continue to adhere to public health measures, including practicing physical distancing, face-covering, regular handwashing and staying home when ill.

The Chief Medical Officer of Health will monitor the situation and advise when certain public health restrictions, such as social gatherings, can be gradually loosened or whether they need to be tightened.

Because of the collective efforts of all Ontarians, we are making real and significant progress in our battle against COVID-19, with the number of new cases each day shrinking,” said Minister Elliott.

As we move forward with caution, public health experts will closely monitor each stage of reopening to carefully assess the evolution of the outbreak, so we can benefit from the best practices and lessons learned across Ontario.”

Ford concluded his statement by saying, “Today is good news. Our efforts are paying off and if we follow the medical advice, if we take our time and get it right, then we’ll be able to get more people back to work.”

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.”

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