Province takes steps toward re-opening

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Ontario will take two big steps back towards “normal” this weekend and again next Tuesday.

The province announced Thursday that it would lift the restrictions on golf courses, marinas and private campgrounds as of this Saturday, and a range of businesses and services beginning next Tuesday.

“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.

“However, we are reopening even more of our businesses beginning this long weekend. 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 Saturday, May 16, 2020:

  • 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 Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. 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.
  • Seasonal businesses and recreational activities for individual or single competitors. 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.

“We are taking a cautious, practical and reasonable approach to restarting the economy, while maintaining the health and safety of the people of Ontario as our top priority,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance.

“This will allow Ontario to emerge from this outbreak with a clear path to economic recovery that keeps people safe and healthy.”

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