Ontario announces additional workplaces that can reopen
Additional seasonal, retail and household businesses must follow public health guidelines
TORONTO — On May 14, 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 May 19, 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 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 May 16 in time for the Victoria Day long weekend, as key public health indicators continue to show progress.
“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 Doug Ford in a prepared statement. “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 May 16:
- 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.
Assuming trends in key public health indicators continue to improve, Ontario’s first stage of reopening will begin on May 19 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.
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 the economic recovery of the province, the government also announced the launch of a new 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 PPE.
The government still advises that the public continue to adhere to public health measures, including practicing 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.