Things are slowly starting to re-open in Ontario starting May 8th as restrictions begin to ease in certain sectors after the initial COVID-19 regulations.  Here are some of the latest developments according to the government announcement.

 

Friday, May 8 
Garden centres and nurseries will be able to open for in-store payment and purchases, operating under the same guidelines as grocery stores and pharmacies.

Saturday, May 9 
Hardware stores and safety supply stores will be permitted to open for in-store payment and purchases.

Monday, May 11 
All retail stores with a street entrance can begin offering curbside pickup and delivery.

Construction

In addition to easing restrictions on retail, the government 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.

Already Re-Opened as of May 4th

Lawn care and landscaping

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

Automatic and self-serve car washes

Auto dealerships, open by appointment only

Golf courses are allowed to prepare for their upcoming season but must remain closed to the public

Marinas can begin preparing for the recreational season by servicing boats and other watercraft. Boats can be placed in the water, but must be secured to a dock at all times until public access is allowed.

Guidelines

Businesses must follow public health measures and should review the workplace safety guidelines, such as promoting physical distancing and frequent handwashing, sanitizing surfaces, installing physical barriers, staggering shifts, and using contactless payment options to stop the spread of COVID-19.

On April 27th, Ontario released the plans of how the province will ease restrictions introduced because of the COVID−19 pandemic. The framework detailed how each of the three stages will last about two to four weeks. The province is not yet at the point of entering the full first stage of its reopening framework, which — in addition to allowing workplaces that can modify operations to reopen — would see the opening of parks, allowing for more people at certain events such as funerals, and having hospitals resume some non-urgent surgeries.

The Ontario Government’s website outlines the three planned stages of openings as follows:

Reopening in Stages

Examples of the government’s gradual approach to reopening Ontario include:

Stage 1

Initially, consider:

For businesses that were ordered to close or restrict operations, opening select workplaces that can immediately meet or modify operations to meet public health guidance and occupational health and safety requirements (e.g., curbside pick‑up or delivery).

Opening some outdoor spaces like parks and allow for a greater number of individuals to attend some events, such as funerals.

Continued protections for vulnerable populations and the continued practice of physical distancing, hand washing and respiratory hygiene, and significant mitigation plans to limit health risks. Hospitals beginning to offer some non-urgent and scheduled surgeries and other health care services.

Stage 2

If the initial loosening of public health measures is successful, consider:

Opening more workplaces, based on risk assessments, which may include some service industries, and additional office and retail workplaces.

Opening more outdoor spaces and allowing some larger public gatherings.

Continued protections for vulnerable populations and the continued practice of physical distancing, hand washing and respiratory hygiene, and significant mitigation plans to limit health risks.

Stage 3

If the loosening of public health measures continues to be successful, consider:

Opening all workplaces responsibly.

Further relaxing the restrictions on public gatherings. Large public gatherings such as concerts and sporting events will continue to be restricted for the foreseeable future.

Continued protections for vulnerable populations and the continued practice of physical distancing, hand washing and respiratory hygiene, and significant mitigation plans to limit health risks.

This ongoing, gradual assessment of public health measures will continue until the post- pandemic period when a vaccine or treatment for COVID‑19 is available. This staged approach reflects Ontario’s “new normal.”

This framework allows the government to prioritize the needs of individuals and families across the province, while balancing economic and social benefits and keeping people safe. To help businesses and services restart, key factors the government will consider include the risk of spread of the virus and the ability to implement protective measures to keep workplaces safe.

For full information visit the official website HERE.

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