Published Monday, May 18, 2020 12:28PM EDT
Last week, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced his intention to move forward with his plan to jumpstart the economy, which has largely been in lockdown since he declared a state of emergency in mid-March.
The province will enter the first stage of the “restart phase” of reopening, as outlined in the Progressive Conservative’s "Framework for Reopening our Province,” on Tuesday, although some businesses have already opened their doors.
A number of seasonal recreational facilities, such as golf courses, marinas and private parks, opened up over the long weekend, giving Ontarians the opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy recreational activities.
The premier previously said he was being lobbied by golfers who felt like the sport naturally lends itself to physical distancing. The courses are now open but golfers need to sign up for a tee time online and adhere to public health measures put in place.
While Ford has repeatedly said he is confident the province is ready to move forward with reopening businesses, Ontario health officials appear to be less enthusiastic.
Speaking just hours after Ford announced his plan to move forward with stage one of reopening the economy last week, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Williams said that while the province is at "day seven or day eight of a downward trend," he was not convinced the province was ready for the first stage of the “restart phase.”
"I would have recommended it if we were already there but we haven’t (got there) yet," Williams said last Tuesday. "We're in a downward trend … unfortunately not a very rapid downward trend but is trending that way and our other metrics are looking good."
Williams has previously said he would like to see a steady decline of community-transmitted cases over a two-week period before moving forward. It is not clear where Ontario stands in terms of community transmitted cases as of Monday.
The number of COVID-19 cases reported daily by health officials has fluctuated all week, falling as low as 294 patients and jumping as high as 391 new patients.
Here’s a list of what’s reopening on May 19 and the types of public health measures Ontarians can expect to see when they venture outside.
What’s reopening on Tuesday?
- All construction and essential workplace limits lifted, includes land surveyors.
- In addition to retail operating online, or with curbside pickup and delivery, all retail stores with a street entrance can open with limited capacity
- Vehicle dealerships and retailers
- Office-based media operations involving equipment that does not allow for remote working.
- Non-emergency diagnostic imaging and surgeries in public hospitals, private hospitals and independent health facilities, clinics, and private practices to resume based on ability to meet specified pre-conditions.
- Certain health and medical services, such as in-person counselling and scheduled surgeries based on the ability to meet pre-specified conditions.
- Libraries for pick-up or delivery
- Outdoor recreational amenities such as marinas
- Outdoor recreational sports centres for sports not played in teams, with limited access to facilities. This includes tennis courts, rod and gun clubs, cycling tracks, horse riding facilities and indoor golf driving ranges.
- Professional and amateur sport activity for individual/single competitors, including training and competition.
- Professional services related to conducting research and experimental development in physical, engineering and life sciences including electronics, computers, chemistry, oceanography, geology, mathematics, physics, environmental, medicine, health, biology, botany, biotechnology, agriculture, fisheries, forestry, pharmacy, veterinary and other allied subjects.
- All emissions inspection facilities for heavy diesel commercial motor vehicles, including mobile inspection facilities.
- Veterinary services by appointment and animal services such as grooming and training.
- Private households could now employ workers on or about the premises in activities primarily concerned with the operation of the household, including cleaners, cooks and nanny services.
- General maintenance, and repair services
When announcing that the province will be entering its next stage of reopening, Ford emphasized that businesses should only open their doors if they are ready.
"We need to stay vigilant; we can't take our progress for granted. We can't ignore the health advice, we need to be ready to responds and we will be ready," Ford said on Thursday.