Premier Doug Ford is set to unveil more details of how he’s planning on reopening Ontario’s economy today and this includes lifting restrictions on construction work and loosening restrictions for retail stores.
In a draft news release obtained by CBC News, the premier is allegedly ready to announce on Thursday that he’s allowing the reopening of retail stores that are not in malls, as well as seasonal businesses, pet services, household cleaning and maintenance, and in-person health and counselling services.
According to CBC News, the release also says the provincial government will be announcing that it will be “lifting essential workplace limits on construction” and allowing picnics in parks.
However, CBC says the draft does not indicate when these restrictions will be lifted, so while premier Ford could announce this next step today, it may still be some time until they come into effect.
The premier is also expected to allow seasonal businesses like golf courses and marinas as well as parks to open for the Victoria Day weekend as long as Ontarians maintain a safe social distance of staying two metres apart from anyone who doesn’t live in their household.
Public health officials will carefully monitor each stage for two to four weeks, as they assess the evolution of the COVID-19 outbreak to determine if it is necessary to change course to maintain public health.
The stages are as follows:
- Stage 1: For businesses that were ordered to close or restrict operations, opening select workplaces that can immediately modify operations to meet public health guidance. Opening some outdoor spaces like parks and allowing for a greater number of individuals to attend some events. Hospitals would also begin to offer some non-urgent and scheduled surgeries, and other health care services.
- Stage 2: Opening more workplaces, based on risk assessments, which may include some service industries and additional office and retail workplaces. Some larger public gatherings would be allowed, and more outdoor spaces would open.
- Stage 3: Opening of all workplaces responsibly and further relaxing of restrictions on public gatherings.
This comes as Ontario reported 329 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday and the number of new daily cases has been below 400 for six of the last seven days.