TORONTO — Today, 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 am, provided that the general trend on health indicators continues to improve as part of the first stage of the government’s reopening framework. The workplaces opening as part of this stage are well-positioned to put workplace safety measures in place and get more people back to work, while not overburdening public transit and other services.
The government also announced additional seasonal services and activities will be permitted to open as early as Saturday, May 16, 2020, at 12:01 a.m., in time for the Victoria Day long weekend, as key public health indicators continue to show progress.
Premier Ford says, “We have laid the groundwork for a safe opening. On May 19, 2020, we will enter stage-one, opening retail stores that have street openings, not in shopping malls, with strict social distancing.”
“There will be a lift of all essential construction restrictions, only if they are ready,” added Premier Ford. “All of this is dependent on the numbers, we need to be ready to react. We must watch the trends like a hawk”.
Finance Minister Phillips says, “Almost three weeks ago we announced a framework to reopen our province which outlined the guiding principles for a gradual three-staged approach to reopening Ontario. We called it a road map, today that road map has led us to the first stop on our journey, and while it’s not the last stop it is an important one we are at this important point in our journey because we have trusted each other and you have trusted us to follow the guidance and direction provided by our health and science experts.
“We have trusted people to sensibly adhere to this guidance and direction and as we prepared to step into stage one we must continue to work together and trust one another to proceed cautiously and adhere to the most up-to-date public health advice the details we are providing for stage 1 will help people including employees and employers.”
The details were provided by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, 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.
“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.
- Marinas, boat clubs and public boat launches may open 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.
The government’s responsible and measured approach to reopening will allow business owners and service provider’s 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 am and will include:
- Retail services that are not in shopping malls and have separate street-front entrances with measures in place that can enable physical distancing, such as limiting the number of customers in the store at any one time and booking appointments beforehand or on the spot.
- Seasonal businesses and recreational activities for individual or single competitors, including training and sport competitions conducted by a recognized national or provincial sport organization. This includes indoor and outdoor non-team sport competitions that can be played while maintaining physical distancing and without spectators, such as tennis, track and field and horse racing.
- 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.
- Lifting essential workplace limits on construction.
- Allowing 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, as well as resuming 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.”
The government and health and safety associations have released more than 90 safety guidance documents to assist employers in multiple sectors, including construction, retail, facilities maintenance and manufacturing. As new sectors of the economy begin to reopen, additional resources will be made available to help protect the safety of workers and the general public.
To support business-owners, workers and the economic recovery of the province, the government has launched a website to provide businesses with information on personal protective equipment (PPE) suppliers. The Workplace PPE Supplier Directory has an up-to-date list of Ontario companies and business associations that are ready to supply personal protective equipment.
“Ontario’s businesses stepped up at the outset of this crisis not only to keep their workers and customers safe, but to come forward with innovative ideas and solutions that represent the best of the Ontario Spirit,” said Minister Fedeli. “This new website is truly a made-in-Ontario approach with Ontario businesses helping Ontario businesses.”
The government continues to prioritize the needs of patients, frontline health care workers and first responders when it comes to having critical equipment and supplies to protect themselves during the COVID-19 outbreak. Businesses are encouraged to access only the PPE they need to keep their employees and customers safe.
“We will leave no stone unturned in our mission to keep workers in this province safe,” said Minister McNaughton. “Ontario’s labour laws are clear: businesses must protect the health and safety of workers, including against workplace hazards like COVID-19. That’s why our ministry has released practical safety guidelines, doubled our capacity to help people by phone and hired more inspectors. We want to ensure everyone is safe at work.”
To ensure that these first actions to reopen the province are a success, the public should continue to adhere to public health measures, including practising physical distancing or wearing a face covering when physical distancing is difficult or not possible, as well as regular handwashing and staying home when ill. The Chief Medical Officer of Health will closely monitor the evolving situation to advise when certain public health restrictions, including adjustments to social gatherings, can be gradually loosened or if 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.”