Retail stores with street access are allowed to reopen in Ontario starting on Monday for curbside pick-up, as COVID-19 cases showed signs of slowing down this weekend.
As of May 11, retail stores reopened for curbside pick-up and delivery, in an effort to get “thousands” of people back to work, Premier Doug Ford said last week when he made the announcement.
The province is also expanding essential construction to allow below-grade multi-unit residential construction projects like apartments and condominiums to begin and existing above-grade projects to continue in order to “keep adding more houses and add more jobs” — also reopening Monday.
And, provincial parks and conservation reserves will reopen starting on Monday, for limited day-use access.
On Saturday, Ford said that recreational activities will be limited to walking, hiking, biking and birdwatching, for the time being. Day-visitors will also be able to access all parks and conservation reserves for free until the end of the month.
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Last week, garden centres and nurseries opened for in-store payment and purchases, operating under the same guidelines as grocery stores and pharmacies
And, on May 9, hardware stores reopened.
All stores will be mandated to follow strict public health protocol.
On Wednesday, Ford said that these businesses must ensure physical distancing, frequent handwashing, sanitizing surfaces, installing physical barriers, staggering shifts, and using contactless payment options to stop the spread of the virus.
The premier also said that the business owners should review the health and safety guidelines developed by the province and its health and safety association partners.
“Any reopening will be gradual measured or safe, but trends are heading in the right direction. We’ve been preparing to get more and more of our economy working again,” Ford said.
Over the weekend, the province announced the lowest number of new cases in more than a month.
On Sunday, 294 new coronavirus cases were discovered and on Saturday, 346 were confirmed. That’s lower than days in April when the province was announcing more than 600 new cases every day.
The total known case count in Ontario now sits at 20,238, but about 73% of those cases — or 14,772 patients — are now considered recovered.