Select Ontario Businesses Can Reopen as Early as May 4

construction
Premier of Ontario/YouTube

The Ontario government has announced that select Ontario businesses and workplaces will be able to reopen as of Monday, May 4.

However, these select businesses and workplaces must comply with strict public health measures and operate safely during the COVID-19 outbreak. Those permitted to start up include seasonal businesses and some essential construction projects.

READ: Province Unveils Industry-Specific Guidelines for Businesses to Reopen

“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 Ford. “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.”

Ford made the announcement at Queen’s Park on Friday afternoon during his daily COVID briefing alongside Minister of Finance Rod Phillips, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Vic Fedeli, and Minister of Health Christine Elliott.

This announcement follows the provincial government releasing more than 60 guidelines for various business sectors to reopen safely on Thursday.

By following the proper health and safety guidelines, these businesses will be permitted to begin operations on Monday, May 4 at 12:01 am:

  • 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.

The government’s announcement was welcomed by industry associations, including the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) and the Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA), who said the resumption of more normal construction activities will allow the industry to meet the housing needs of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Ontario.

“We all want safe jobsites,” said Joe Vaccaro, OHBA CEO. “Adding these new construction activities along with new provincial COVID-19 health and safety guidelines means members will continue to focus on worker safety while delivering keys to the thousands of families waiting for their homes to be completed. We can keep each other safe while delivering housing supply across Ontario.”

While certain businesses are being permitted to reopen, the provincial government says it’s still critical that people continue to stay home, practise physical distancing, and only go out for essential reasons such as picking up groceries, prescriptions or to keep a medical appointment.

“People’s efforts are paying off and we can see a light at the end of the tunnel,” said Minister Phillips. “Our response has always been based on the current status of the outbreak in our province, and on what makes sense for Ontario. 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.”

This comes as Ontario reported 421 new coronavirus cases and 39 new deaths on Friday, bringing the provincial totals to 16,608 cases and 1,121 deaths since the outbreak began.

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