Restaurants, hair salons and malls outside GTHA can reopen by Friday
Published Monday, June 8, 2020 7:39AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, June 9, 2020 10:54AM EDT
Restaurants, hair salons, shopping malls and public pools will be permitted to reopen in some parts of the province outside the GTHA and parts of southern Ontario by as early as this Friday.
But municipalities within the GTHA as well as some hard-hit areas of southern Ontario will not be allowed to reopen additional businesses until June 19 at the earliest.
Starting Friday, all Ontario municipalities outside the GTHA, Lambton, Niagara, Windsor-Essex and Haldimand-Norfolk will be able to open shopping malls, all personal care settings including hair salons, barbers and spas, outdoor dining on patios or in parking lots, public pools, museums and other historic sites, community centres and flim, television and photography production.
"We will continue to keep a close eye on regions that will not open this Friday and we need just a little more time. We will continue talking to local officials who are playing a critical role in determining what areas can open. I am confident that the rest of the province will get to Stage 2 very, very soon," Premier Doug Ford said Monday.
Strict physical distancing will be enforced in all settings, including near-universal use of gloves and masks.
Gatherings of up to 10 people will also be permitted in all areas of the province starting on Friday.
For instance, personal care settings including tattoo parlours, tanning salons, spas providing massage services, hair removal centres and weight loss clinics will be allowed to reopen, with increased cleaning protocols, appointment only service, questionnaires about COVID-19 for clients and physical distancing measures.
Ontario is also allowing all places of worship to reopen, even in those areas not advancing to Stage 2, with attendance limited to 30 per cent capacity, with physical distancing rules in place.
Restaurants and bars will be able to seat diners in a physically distant manner, not indoors but only on patios or parking lot space and all diners will have to make reservations.
Stores in malls will be under strict occupancy restrictions, enforced walking traffic patterns, and stores with change rooms will be ordered to clean them in between uses.
Food courts in malls will be restricted to take-out only.
Public pools, community centres and pools in other settings such as condos and hotels will be allowed to reopen, but change rooms will only be allowed to open “if operators can adequately sanitize and disinfect the facilities.”
All film and television production across the province will be allowed to resume as part of Stage 2.
Outdoor team sports practice can resume, but not games.
Also mini-golf, archery, paintball and go-kart tracks can resume operations as part of Stage 2.
Museums and historic sites will be allowed to re-open, with strict limits on occupancy and orders to document everyone who enters their facility.
Ford initially said he did not support a staggered, regional reopening process like the one he announced Friday.
He defended against charges his government moved too slowly to embrace a regional reopening, seeing as areas such as Timiskaming or Kingston have seen only one or two new COVID-19 cases for the last several weeks.
“In hindsight, I think we made the right move, if you look at smaller provinces or smaller geographical areas, we wouldn’t make this move but we have a province larger than Texas and California, we have to differentiate between urban and rural areas,” Ford said.
“This isn’t fair to punish people in rural areas for what is happening in big urban centres.”
The Ford government will re-evaluate whether the remaining regions can move to Stage 2 on a weekly basis.
"My friends, we are making progress. It's a sign we are on the right track," Ford said.
The province will also be announcing a ban on commercial evictions today, sources say.
The remaining public health units in the GTA and southern Ontario will be able to follow suit no earlier than June 19, with further holdbacks if COVID-19 case growth doesn’t significantly decline.
Ford said the decision to move remaining areas to Stage 2 will be made in consultation with local mayors and chief medical officers of health in those areas.
Ontario says Stage 3 will involve the re-opening of all remaining workplaces, with remote working encouraged wherever possible.
Indoor dining, playgrounds, movie theatres, casinos, gyms, amusement parks and water parks will all also be allowed to reopen in Stage 3, provided they follow strict physical distancing measures.
Another announcement on timing of childcare resumption is expected tomorrow.