Monday marks a huge step toward normalcy amid the coronavirus pandemic as retail stores in Ontario are allowed to reopen for curbside pickup following a weekend that saw new case numbers slow to a pace not seen since March.
Starting today, all retail stores with a street entrance will be allowed to reopen to provide both curbside pickup and delivery — a move Premier Doug Ford has said will allow thousands of people to return to work after the province has seen more than 1 million jobs lost during the COVID-19 pandemic
To ensure that businesses are prepared, the City of Toronto has released a list of recommendations to help them do so safely and efficiently to help prevent the spread of the virus by encouraging physical distancing.
Examples of how business owners can help keep employees and customers safe include:
- Actively managing entry into their stores by putting up signage and visual cues such as cones or tape
- Encouraging employees and customers to wear face coverings, such as non-medical masks or scarves
- Managing lines inside the store by placing tape every two metres (six feet)
- Allowing for online or over the phone orders
- Scheduling pickup times for customers
- Defining a process for how employees interact with customers – especially related to loading vehicles and payments
- Where possible, only accepting payments by credit card, debit or gift card
Additionally, as businesses in Toronto consider how to allow curbside pickup, the City says they should continue to follow advice from public health experts by planning to manage physical distancing for customers and employees, both inside and outside their stores; support proper hand hygiene; keep surfaces and objects clean, and find ways to limit contact between people.
— City of Toronto (@cityoftoronto) May 8, 2020
“It is critical that the opening of more businesses and shops is done in a safe way that doesn’t allow for further spread of this deadly virus,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said in a statement.
“Much of that – as always has been the case – will rely on individual residents continuing to do the right thing and keeping their distance from others. And it will absolutely rely on businesses continuing to do the right thing and following the provincial regulations and public health recommendations.”
On Friday, the government allowed garden centres and nurseries to fully reopen, and hardware stores and safety supply stores were permitted to open for in-store payment and purchases on Saturday.
The province has also allowed essential construction to allow below-grade multi-unit residential construction projects like apartments and condominiums to begin and existing above-grade projects to continue. Additionally, provincial parks and conservation reserves will reopen starting on Monday, for limited day-use access.