Province allowing some businesses to reopen with ‘strict safety guidelines’

The Ontario government is allowing some workplaces to reopen, as long as they meet “strict public health measures and operate safely during the COVID-19 outbreak.”

In a news release issued Friday, the province announced the businesses that will be allowed to start up again include seasonal businesses and some essential construction projects.

“We are allowing certain businesses to reopen under strict guidelines because we are confident they can operate safely and adapt to the current environment,” said Premier Doug Ford, in a statement.

“While further reductions in the spread are needed before we can begin reopening the province, we have the right framework and the right workplace guidelines in place to do so gradually and safely.”

The province says the following businesses will be able to begin operating on May 4 at 12:01 a.m.:

  • Garden centres and nurseries with curbside pick-up and delivery only.
  • Lawn care and landscaping.
  • Additional essential construction projects that include: 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 may prepare their courses for the upcoming season, but not open to the public.
  • Marinas may also begin preparations for the recreational boating season by servicing boats and other watercraft and placing boats in the water, but not open to the public. Boats and watercraft must be secured to a dock in the marina until public access is allowed.

At the province’s daily news briefing, Ford said he is “optimistic” that additional businesses will be able to open up safely “the near future.”

“We’re heading in the right direction,” Ford said, noting that many of the businesses that will be allowed to open next week are seasonal in nature.

“We have reason to be optimistic,” he said.

The province also noted in its news release that it is “critical” that people continue to stay home, practise physical distancing, and only go out for essential reasons.

“As we begin planning for the next phase of our fight against COVID-19, Ontarians should continue to stay home as much as possible to ensure we stop as quickly as possible the spread of this virus,” said Health Minister Christine Elliott, in a statement.

“While we have made tremendous progress in our shared battle against this new virus, we are not done yet. We need to keep up the fight by continuing to practice physical distancing and good hygiene habits.”

Ford isn’t the only leader to relax rules. On Friday, Toronto Mayor John Tory suggested people can enjoy the outdoors this weekend so long as they’re mindful to keep their distance from others. “I just think if people are careful and they’re mindful of the two meters they can go to the park, even though I know we’re supposed to be telling them to stay home,” he said.


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