The good news is that the province has allowed gathering of groups of up to 10 persons, with social distancing and face covering. But for Hamilton and most of the GTA we will not be able to open up more services on Friday as per Stage 2 of the province’s regional approach to loosen restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic
Hamilton, the Niagara region, Haldimand-Norfolk and Burlington will have to wait before entering Stage 2 of Ontario’s plan to loosen COVID-19 restrictions.
Premier Doug Ford spoke to media on Monday and said public health is taking a regional approach, which would allow some parts of the province to resume, while others hold off until their numbers lower.
The current restrictions will stay in place until the province sees improvement in local COVID-19 cases.
Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said criteria set by the province’s chief medial officer of health and meetings with local public health officials ultimately influenced the decision to hold back Hamilton and other regions. Elliot explained a progress report will come each Monday for the regions waiting to enter the next stage. Lower rates of transmission, increased capacity in hospitals and continued progress in testing are examples of what regions like Hamilton would need to reach Stage 2.
Once we are in Stage 2 here is a list of businesses and services allowed to reopen
- Select personal and personal care services with the proper health and safety measures in place, including tattoo parlours, barber shops, hair salons and beauty salons;
- Shopping malls under existing restrictions, including food services reopening for takeout and outdoor dining only;
- Tour and guide services, such as biking and walking, bus and boat tours, as well as tastings and tours for wineries, breweries and distilleries;
- Water recreational facilities such as outdoor splash pads and wading pools, and all swimming pools;
- Beach access and additional camping at Ontario Parks;
- Camping at private campgrounds;
- Outdoor-only recreational facilities and training for outdoor team sports, with limits to enable physical distancing;
- Drive-in and drive-through venues for theatres, concerts, animal attractions and cultural appreciation, such as art installations;
- Film and television production activities, with limits to enable physical distancing; and
- Weddings and funerals, with limits on social gatherings to 10 people.
Child care services will shift away from providing solely emergency services throughout the province, regardless of what phase each region is in, allowing for a gradual reopening of regular service. The province says there will be a limit on operational capacity and other strict public health measures that will need to stay in place.