Ontario’s Stay-at-Home order is expiring on Wednesday, but don’t expect a rapid return to normal.
The province isn’t moving into Step 1 of its reopening plan until June 14 at the earliest, leaving a two-week window where it won’t be illegal to leave home for a non-essential reason — but there won’t be many reasons to go out.
“Things will be similar to the old Grey Zone if you may,” Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Williams said at a news conference Monday.
Ontario’s Emergency Brake is still in place, and many restrictions will remain until the province officially starts reopening in mid-June.
What’s still closed?
Indoor gatherings are still forbidden, and outdoor gatherings are capped at five people except for gatherings with members of the same household.
Essential retail businesses such as grocery stores can only admit 25% of their fire code capacity, and non-essential retail businesses can only do curbside pickup or delivery.
Camping in Ontario provincial parks and on Crown land won’t be allowed until June 14 at the earliest. Provincial parks are open for day-use activities such as hiking and walking.
Personal care services such as nail salons and barbershops will remain closed, and restaurants can only serve takeout or delivery meals.
Recreational travel remains prohibited, and short-term rentals such as Airbnb may only rent to Ontarians in need of housing.
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Does anything change?
Cottage owners will likely appreciate one key rule relaxation: Ontarians can now travel from their home to a secondary residence in the province for any reason. But only household members are allowed — no guests.
“We’ve seen great progress in our fight against COVID-19 in recent weeks, but now is not the time to let our guard down,” Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said in a statement Tuesday.
This is Ontario’s second Stay-at-Home order, and it was put in place on April 7 in response to rapidly rising COVID-19 infections during the third wave. It ends on June 2.
Here’s what the roadmap to reopening looks like, with the first restrictions lifting around June 14: