During an unprecedented pandemic shutdown it’s hard enough to keep track of the day of the week, let alone the constantly-evolving details surrounding the gradual reopening of businesses and services.
Here’s a look at the latest developments as the province slowly emerges from its curve-flattening closures.
Friday, May 8: Garden centres and nurseries were able to open for in-store payment and purchases, operating under the same guidelines as grocery stores and pharmacies.
Saturday, May 9: Hardware stores and safety supply stores were permitted to open for in-store payment and purchases.
Monday, May 11: Retail stores with a street entrance began offering curbside pickup and delivery, in accordance with the Ministry of Health’s Guidance Document for Essential Workplaces and occupational health and safety requirements.
Thursday, May 14: The LCBO extended its hours, opening from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Sunday hours remain the same, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday, May 16:
- 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.
Tuesday, May 19:
- Retail services that are not in shopping malls and have separate street-front entrances with measures in place that can enable physical distancing, such as limiting the number of customers in the store at any one time and booking appointments beforehand or on the spot.
- Seasonal businesses and recreational activities for individual or single competitors, including training and sport competitions conducted by a recognized national or provincial sport organization. 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; in-person services, in addition to virtual services, delivered by health professionals; and scheduled surgeries, all based on the ability to meet pre-specified conditions as outlined in A Measured Approach to Planning for Surgeries and Procedures During the COVID-19 Pandemic.
- In Toronto, off-leash dog parks were allowed to reopen.
Saturday, May 23:
- The City of Toronto reopened 850 park amenities including picnic shelters, soccer and multi-use outdoor fields, baseball diamonds and basketball courts.
Tuesday, May 26:
- The province issues a directive allowing several health care providers will be allowed to reopen their doors once their individual regulatory bodies grant approval. This includes dentists, optometrists, physiotherapists and more.
Wednesday, June 3:
- The city of Toronto allowed street food vendors, food and ice cream trucks to resume operations.
Friday June 5:
- Short-term rentals including cottages, cabins, lodges and BnBs are allowed to resume operations.
Friday, June 12:
- Restaurant patios, personal care salons and swimming pools are among the businesses allowed to reopen in regions outside of Toronto, Hamilton and some border regions.
- Tour and guide services are allowed to resume operations in regions outside of Toronto, Hamilton and some border regions.
- Childcare centres are allowed to reopen across the province under strict guidelines and limited attendance to allow social distancing.
- The limit on social gatherings has increased from five people to 10 people.
- All places of worship in Ontario will also be permitted to open with physical distancing in place and attendance limited to no more than 30 per cent of the building capacity to ensure the safety of worshippers.
- Ontarians are encouraged to create “Social circles” with up to 10 people within family and friends.
- Beaches at Ontario Parks will begin opening to the public as maintenance and water testing are completed.
Thursday, June 18:
- The province will allow the “cautious” restart of visits to long-term care, retirement and group homes that are not currently experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak with restrictions.
Monday, June 22:
- All other campgrounds in regions entering Stage 2 (excluding Toronto, Hamilton and some Border regions) will gradually open at provincial parks, along with washrooms, water taps and trailer sanitation stations.
Sunday, July 12:
- The city of Toronto will begin to offer summer day camps as a part of their CampTO initiative.
The province previously announced a 3-stage plan for reopening the economy, but has yet to provide specific dates for the next two phases, choosing a wait-and-see approach directed by health officials and contingent on case numbers declining.
(Source: Province of Ontario)
- opening all workplaces responsibly
- relaxing restrictions on public gatherings
- continued protections for vulnerable populations
Considerations for each stage
- a consistent two-to-four week decrease in the number of new daily COVID‑19 cases
- sufficient acute and critical care capacity, including access to ventilators and ongoing availability of personal protective equipment
- approximately 90% of new COVID‑19 contacts are being reached by local public health officials within one day, with guidance and direction to contain community spread
- ongoing testing of suspected COVID‑19 cases, especially of vulnerable populations, to detect new outbreaks quickly