Simcoe Muskoka: What you need to know as the region enters Ontario's Step 1 reopening
Simcoe Muskoka joins the province on Friday as it moves into Step 1 of Ontario's Roadmap to Reopening, leaving many business owners scrambling to prepare to welcome back customers.
However, the first stage in the roadmap doesn't allow all businesses to start back up.
Here's what residents need to know as many closed signs spin around to read open on Friday.
Stores that have been open all along can remove the caution tape and barriers and sell everything once again. These retailers are restricted to a 25 per cent capacity limit.
Retailers that have had their doors locked for months can welcome back customers with a 15 per cent capacity.
Additionally, outdoor gatherings expand to 10 people, patios can offer dining with four at a table, and overnight camping at campgrounds and campsites can open in time for the weekend.
Here's a list of some local attractions reopening:
- Elmvale Jungle Zoo, Sat. June 12
- Santa's Village, Sat. June 12 - operating limited attractions on weekends until the end of June. Activities include splash pads, pools, food vendors, mini-golf, outdoor adventure park courses, aerial park, hiking trail and suspension bridge.
- Wye Marsh, Mon. June 14
- Scenic Caves Nature Adventures, opened on June 4
- Rounds Ranch, June 25
A complete list of what is permitted in Step 1 is available here.
Still, Step 1 excludes many businesses, most of which will reopen in the roadmap's second phase.
Many residents will be relieved when hairdressing, barbering and nail shops reopen during the second stage.
This stage allows for personal care services, including tattooing and piercings, as long as face masks can be worn at all times.
Additionally, outdoor gatherings jump to 25 people, and indoor gatherings are permitted, but with a five-person limit.
Capacity limits on retailers jump to 25 per cent for non-essential and 50 per cent for essential.
Here is a list of other restrictions that will ease:
- indoor religious services, rites or ceremonies at 25 per cent capacity of the room
- outdoor dining up to six per table
- outdoor sports and leagues
- outdoor meeting and event spaces with capacity limits
- outdoor cinemas and performing arts with capacity limits
- horse racing and motor speedways for spectators with capacity limits
- outdoor tour and guide services with capacity limits
- public libraries with capacity limits
- outdoor waterparks and amusement parks with capacity limits
- overnight camps
- fairs and rural exhibitions with capacity limits
The province anticipates moving into Step 2 in about three weeks if positive trends continue with COVID-19 cases.
On Thursday, Ontario reported a slight increase in new infections in the last two days, with 590 new cases. It logged 411 positive cases 24 hours before.