Greater Toronto and the Windsor, Niagara and Hamilton regions, where daily new COVID-19 cases have stayed high, remain exempt from the Stage 2 reopenings that begin Friday.
Brian Platt- National Post.
June 8, 2020
3:04 PM EDT
Canada’s biggest province is allowing restaurant patios, shopping malls, hair salons and many other workplaces to reopen as it moves into “Stage 2,” but its biggest city will have to wait a little longer.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced Monday that a wide range of businesses will be allowed to reopen this Friday in most of Ontario — but not in the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton, where daily new COVID-19 cases have stayed stubbornly high, and border regions including around Windsor, Niagara and Sarnia.
Instead, the province will give an update every Monday on whether the health metrics allow for those places to reopen on the following Friday. That means the soonest they could reopen is June 19.
The list of what’s allowed to reopen in Stage 2 includes restaurant and bar patios, shopping malls, personal care services such as hair and beauty salons, museums, libraries, beaches, pools, and tour and guide services. However, they will all need to follow guidelines and restrictions to reduce personal contact and allow for social distancing.
Ontario is also now allowing social gatherings of up to 10 people for the whole province (including the Greater Toronto Area), increased from five.
The government is allowing churches and other places of worship to reopen at 30 per cent of building capacity. Venues for wedding ceremonies, funerals and similar gatherings can also reopen, but will still have to comply with the 10-person limit on social gatherings.
“We are able to make this announcement today because of the extraordinary effort of our frontline workers and every other person in the province who helped to stop the spread of this deadly virus,” said Ford.
“Entering Stage 2 means parts of the province will see more people back on the job and an opportunity to get back together with friends and family. Although this is extremely encouraging, I urge everyone to exercise caution and continue to follow public health advice as we are not out of the woods yet.”
The owners of Stratengers Restaurant and Bar (Dharam Vijh(L) and his brother Anil prepare their patio section for reopening on Thursday June 4, 2020 in Leslieville.Veronica Henri/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network
Restaurants and bars will be allowed to open up outdoor dining areas as long as they “ensure physical distancing of at least two metres between patrons from different households,” the reopening guide says. The province is also making it easier for them to temporarily expand their patios to adjacent areas such as sidewalks, curb lanes and parking lots.
Shoppings malls and markets can reopen, but enclosed food courts can only do takeout. The guide recommends that malls screen people for COVID-19 symptoms at the mall entrances, not at individual shops.
Personal care services can reopen including barber shops, hair salons, beauty salons, hair removal services, diet centres, piercing services, day spas, tanning salons and tattoo studios.
However, some services will remain prohibited including saunas, baths, steam rooms and services that tend to a person’s face (such as facials, facial hair grooming, eyebrow grooming and oxygen bars.)
Indoor and outdoor tour and guide services will be allowed to resume, such as winery tours and bike tours. Pools both outdoor and indoor can open, but waterslides and wave pools must stay closed.
“Outdoor-only recreational facilities that operate low-contact attractions and activities will be allowed to reopen,” the guide says, and lists examples such as paintball, mini-golf, archery ranges and go-cart tracks. But it still prohibits recreational activities that “do not allow for two-metre physical distancing between patrons.”
Libraries can reopen for certain services, including computer access and contactless book pickup and drop-off. Community centres and culture centres such as museums and galleries can also reopen, but with limited capacity and rules for physical distancing in place.
Small outdoor events can take place, “such as cultural celebrations, animal shows and fundraisers,” but large outdoor events such as concerts, large festivals, parades and amusement fairs will remain prohibited.