Ontario Premier Doug Ford said the province’s COVID-19 cases are going in the right direction, but there is still “a long way to go” even as certain retail stores open this week.
On Monday, Ford said Ontario has come a long way in the last eight weeks of the pandemic.
“We avoided the worst-case scenario. We have many reasons to be optimistic right now,” he said.
On Sunday, the province reported 294 new coronavirus cases, the lowest increase in six weeks.
The province’s total is now 20,546 but 73.6% of the cases have been resolved, with 15,131 patients recovered.
Ford said to remember that “we’re looking for a trend,” but the numbers are a “good sign we’re going in the right direction.”
Because of this trend, certain parts of the economy have been reopening and will continue to “gradually but steadily, as soon as it is safe to do so.”
“We have come a long way, but still have a long way to go,” Ford said.
The premier also noted that the government is working to get more businesses and services running again, and will have more to say on the matter in the upcoming days.
“We are starting a long journey of recovery but your government will stand with you, I will stand with you. As long as I am premier, you can be rest assured that I will stop at nothing to help you and support you,” Ford said.
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On Monday, retail stores with a street entrance to offer curbside pickup and delivery opened. Over the weekend, garden centres, nurseries, hardware stores and safety supply stores began offering in-store purchasing.
The provincial government said that all retailers should follow available safety guidelines in order to protect staff, consumers and the general public during the pandemic
Easing restrictions on retail stores is aligned with the first phase of the government’s Framework for Reopening our Province, Protect and Support, which allows for businesses that can operate safely to do so.
In addition, provincial parks and conservation reserves will begin opening May 11 with limited access. To start, recreational activities will be restricted to walking, hiking, biking and birdwatching. People will be able to access all parks and conservation reserves for free until the end of the month.
The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development and its health and safety association partners have now released over 80 sector-specific health and safety guidelines, including guidelines for curbside pickup and delivery services.
The Ministry of Health also released a Guidance Document for Essential Workplaces and recommends that business owners should use these guidelines to develop reopening plans that work for their business and protect workers, customers and the general public as the province prepares for the gradual reopening of the economy.