Business COVID-19 Politics

Ontario begins reopening starting Monday

Queen's Park will allow businesses to reopen.

Ontario will start the process of reopening on Monday.

The outside of the Ontario legislative building at Queen’s Park. GUELPHWIRE/Jack Fisher

After 52 days of the enforced shut-down across the country, Ontario is opting to open some businesses and industries as long as they follow public health recommendations for physical distancing.

“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 release on Friday.

“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 City of Guelph announced new construction projects on Friday, with sidewalk repairs starting on Monday morning.

So what’s opening?

As of May 4 at 12:01 a.m., the following businesses can open as long as they follow the public health and safety recommendations.

  • 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; and
  • 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.

***Schools, daycare, colleges, universities are not opening to the public. There will only be essential construction and infrastructure in those sectors

The whole press briefing can be found on the Premier’s Youtube channel here:

The public health guidelines for reopening include general recommendations as well as specific guidance for construction, food processing, restaurant and food services, agriculture, and manufacturing.

“Ontario workers and businesses have shown exemplary cooperation and resilience throughout the course of this crisis,” said Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, Vic Fedeli in Friday’s press briefing.

“We’re beginning to ease restrictions on select businesses as we carefully and methodically re-open Ontario’s economy and continue together on our path to renewed prosperity.”

Minister of Health Christine Elliot added: “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.”

“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 practise physical distancing and good hygiene habits,” Ellitot said.

Ontario residents are still encouraged to only leave their homes for essential reasons like grocery shopping, medicine, or going to essential jobs.

This announcement is not part of Ontario’s plan to completely reopen the province as a whole, but is a step closer to it.

“To be clear ― we haven’t moved into the reopening phase of our response to COVID-19. Not yet. But based on the best public health advice available to us, we are a step closer, ” added Finance Minister Rod Phillips.

(Reporting by Jack Fisher; Editing by Eli Ridder)