The Ford government released a blueprint today for the gradual re-opening of the province. Retail shops outside of malls that have street access will be permitted to reopen to customers starting May 19.
Ontario’s first phase of its reopening plan involves a full resumption of retail outside of malls, and all construction projects, starting on May 19. And on Saturday, May 16, golf courses and marinas will be allowed to open to the public.
Physical distancing measures will still be required in all sectors, and retail shops will have to limit the number of customers they allow in at one time, or conduct business by appointment.
The plan also calls for the resumption of some individual, non-team sports such as cycling, golf driving ranges, horse riding, sport shooting clubs, rowing, gymnastics and figure skating.
All public pools in the province will remain closed until further notice.
“Businesses should reopen only if they are ready, and the truth is that this is all dependent on the numbers,” Premier Ford said Thursday.”As we get more and more people back to work, the risk of flare-ups is real so we need to be vigilant.”
This Phase of reopening does not involve reopening restaurants under any circumstances, nor does it raise the number of people who can gather in any place beyond five.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said hospital admissions to intensive care and intubations are falling, and case growth is on a long-term drop.
Also, all vehicle dealerships and scientific research laboratories will be allowed to resume operations, provided they respect sector-specific rules about physical distancing.
All scheduled medical diagnostic tests and scheduled medical procedures will also be allowed to resume, provided the facilities meet specific conditions regarding screening for COVID-19.
The media sector, including newspapers, book publishing, interactive digital media, film and television post-production and video game development will also be allowed to get underway.
For municipalities, all libraries will be allowed to conduct business via curbside pickup on May 19.
A whole variety of “indoor and outdoor household services” can also resume on May 19, including nanny and babysitter services, maids, cooks, cleaners, house painters and maintenance and repair works.
After Stage 1, Stage 2 of the reopening will involve resumption of certain service industries, offices and opening more “community spaces.”
Ford wouldn’t say how long the province would stay on Phase 1 before moving to Phase 2, saying everything would depend on daily COVID-19 test results, which showed the lowest number of new infections in two and a half months on Thursday.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said Thursday that this phase may last two, or three or even four weeks, where they will be watching closely for new cases.