London joins rest of Ontario as Step 1 of reopening plan begins Friday

If you were passing by restaurants and shops Friday in London and you saw something you have not seen in several weeks, customers.

Step 1 of the Roadmap to Reopen, set by the province, officially began as of 12:01 a.m.

That means people can sit on patios again, or shop, albeit in limited numbers at non-essential retail stories.

The move to Step 1 was originally set to begin on Monday, but due to Ontario’s current COVID-19 numbers the decision was made to move reopening to ahead of the weekend.

The rules for patios are four people per table with exceptions for larger households.

There is no capacity limitations as long as two metres of space can be enforced between tables.

Retail stores can open at 15 per cent capacity, 25 per cent for stores deemed essential.

Another change will be that all items, deemed essential or not, can be sold. That means no more blocked off aisles at your local Walmart of Dollarama.

Here are some other changes allowed under Step One:

  • outdoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 10 people allowed
  • outdoor religious services, rites, or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services, capped at the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres
  • indoor religious services, rites, or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services permitted at up to 15 per cent capacity of the particular room
  • non-essential retail permitted at 15 per cent capacity, with no restrictions on the goods that can be sold
  • essential and other select retail permitted at 25 per cent capacity, with no restrictions on the goods that can be sold
  • outdoor dining with up to four people per table, with exceptions for larger households
  • outdoor fitness classes, outdoor groups in personal training and outdoor individual/team sport training to be permitted with up to 10 people, among other restrictions
  • day camps for children permitted to operate in a manner consistent with the safety guidelines for COVID-19
  • overnight camping at campgrounds and campsites, including Ontario Parks, and short-term rentals
  • concert venues, theatres and cinemas may open outdoors for the purpose of rehearsing or performing a recorded or broadcasted concert, artistic event, theatrical performance or other performance with no more than 10 performers, among other restrictions
  • outdoor horse racing tracks and motor speedways permitted to operate without spectators
  • outdoor attractions such as zoos, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens with capacity and other restrictions

Additional details of what is allowed in Stage 1 can be found here.

The move to Step 2 is not expected to take place until at least another 21 days.