Ontario Premier Doug Ford is expanding the list of businesses and recreational activities that can reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ford’s announcement on Thursday is part of Ontario’s first stage of its reopening framework.
This includes private parks, campgrounds, golf courses, and other retail businesses that will reopen in the province over the next week.
“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,” Ford said on Thursday.
“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.”
But, Ford emphasized that these places can open “only if they are ready.”
“Thanks to our collective efforts we are prepared for the next stage of reopening the economy,” the premier said.
“We are getting thousands of people back to work. We have the framework, safety guidelines and capacity in our healthcare system.”
Ford added that the risk of flare-ups “is real” and that the province must stay “vigilant” and not ignore the health advice of the provinces’ top health officials.
All the businesses that can reopen so far by date:
- Golf courses will be able to open, with clubhouses available only for washrooms and restaurants 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.
- Retail services not in shopping malls, that have separate street-front entrances can reopen. But there must be 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. This includes training and sport competitions conducted by a recognized national or provincial sport organization. Now, indoor and outdoor non-team sport competitions 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.
All the businesses that have already reopened:
- Lawn centres and landscaping
- Expanded essential construction projects including 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
- Self-serve car washes, and auto dealerships by appointment only
- Golf courses can also prepare for the upcoming season, but not yet open to the public
- Marinas can service their boats and other watercraft, but not yet open to the public
- Garden centres and nurseries reopened for in-store payment and purchases, operating under the same guidelines as grocery stores and pharmacies
- Hardware stores
- Retail stores with a street entrance can open for curbside pick-up
- Below-grade, multi-unit residential construction projects like apartments and condominiums to begin and existing above-grade projects to continue
- Provincial parks began to reopen allowing for visitors to hike and birdwatch