Some Ontario businesses allowed to reopen today as COVID-19 restrictions loosen

We are open sign

Some Ontario businesses will be allowed to open their doors today after being closed for two months in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The province is starting the first stage of its economic reopening today, giving the green light to retailers, some sports centres, vehicle dealerships and other businesses to resume.

But the provincial government stresses those businesses still have to comply with public health guidelines such as physical distancing as they welcome customers.

Some business owners have expressed relief and excitement at the prospect of reopening, while others say they feel it's too early to do so safely.

The province ordered the closure of all businesses deemed non-essential in mid-March and recently allowed those with street entrances to offer curbside pickup.

Ontario reported 304 more cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the provincial total to 22,957.

 

Here's the full list of businesses allowed to reopen today:

Construction

  • All construction to resume and essential workplace limits lifted, includes land surveyors.

Retail

  • In addition to retail operating online, or with curbside pickup and delivery, all retail can open under the following restrictions and guidelines:
  • No indoor malls
  • Must have a street-front entrance
  • Open in-store by appointment and/or by limiting the number of people in the store at any one time. Retailers would need to restrict the number of customers per square metre to ensure physical distancing of 2 metres at all times.
  • Only fitting rooms with doors would be used, not curtains, to facilitate disinfecting. Retailers will nee to restrict use to every second fitting room at any one time to allow for cleaning after use and ensure physical distancing.

Vehicle dealerships and retailers

  • New and used car, truck, and motorcycle dealers.
  • Recreational vehicle (RV) dealers (e.g., campers, motor homes, trailers, travel trailers).
  • Boat, watercraft and marine supply dealers.
  • Other vehicle dealers of motorized bicycles, golf carts, scooters, snowmobiles, ATVs, utility trailers, etc.

Media operations

  • Office-based media operations involving equipment that does not allow for remote working. This includes:
  • Sound recording, such as production, distribution, publishing, studios
  • Film and television post-production, film and television animation studios
  • Publishing: periodical, book, directory, software, video games
  • Interactive digital media, such as computer systems design and related services (e.g., programming, video game design and development)
  • Media activities that can be completed while working remotely have been encouraged to continue during the Restart phase
  • Filming or other on-site activities, especially those that require the gathering of workers, performers or others are not permitted to resume in Stage 1

Scheduled surgeries (public and private facilities)

  • 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 including the MOH framework: A Measured Approach to Planning for Surgeries and Procedures During the COVID-19 Pandemic, contains clear criteria that must be met before hospitals can resume scheduled surgeries.
  • Scheduled surgical and procedural work to resume once “Directive #2 for Health Care Providers (Regulated Health Professionals or Persons who operate a Group Practice of Regulated Health Professionals)” is amended or revoked, which relies on hospitals meeting criteria outlined in A Measured Approach to Planning for Surgeries and Procedures During the COVID-19.

Health services

  • Allowing certain health and medical services to resume, such as in-person counselling and scheduled surgeries based on the ability to meet pre-specified conditions as outlined in A Measured Approach to Planning for Surgeries and Procedures During the COVID-19 Pandemic, as well as resuming professional services such as shifting Children’s Treatment Centres from virtual to in-person.
  • In-person counselling to resume including psychotherapy and other mental health and support services. Some of these services were available in-person for urgent needs. For example: Addiction counselling, crisis intervention, family counselling, offender rehabilitation, palliative care counselling, parenting services, rape crisis centres, refugee services

Community services

  • Libraries for pick-up or delivery

Outdoor recreational amenities

  • Marinas can resume recreational services
  • Pools will remain closed

Individual recreational sports

Outdoor recreational sports centres for sports not played in teams will open with limited access to facilities (e.g., no clubhouse, no change rooms, washrooms and emergency aid only). 
Examples of sports centres include:

  • Tennis courts
  • Rod and gun clubs
  • Cycling tracks (including BMX)
  • Horse riding facilities
  • Indoor rod and gun clubs and indoor golf driving ranges

Individual sports competitions without spectators

  • Professional and amateur sport activity for individual/single competitors, including training and competition conducted by a recognized Provincial Sport Organization, National Sport Organization, or recognized national Provincial training centres (e.g., Canadian Sport Institute Ontario) with return to play protocols in place and no spectators, except for an accompanying guardian for a person under the age of 18 years.
  • This includes indoor and outdoor non-team sport competitions that can be played under physical distancing measures. This includes water sports on lakes and outdoor bodies of water and racquet sports, such as tennis, ping pong, and badminton
  • Animal-related sports, such as dog racing, agility, horse racing
  • Other sports such as: track and field, car and motorcycle racing, figure skating, fencing, rock climbing, gymnastics, etc.
  • Swimming pools will remain closed. As a result, water-based sports competitions are excluded if not conducted on lakes or outdoor bodies of water.
  • High-contact sports are not allowed even if they are non-team. These include sports where physical distancing cannot be practiced such as racquetball, squash, boxing, wrestling sports, martial arts, etc.

Professional services related to research and development

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. For example:

  • Agriculture, food research, horticulture or botany, entomological, forestry, livestock, veterinary research and development laboratories.
  • Bacteriological, biotechnology, chemical, nanobiotechnology, pharmacy, genetics, genomics, computational biology, research and development laboratories.
  • Computer and related hardware, electronic, telecommunication research and development services.
  • Geology, oceanographic, pollution research and development, and astronomical observatories.
  • Mathematics research and development.
  • Industrial research and development laboratories.

These examples are listed for clarity. Most if not all these services are already permitted under the “Research” section of the List of Essential Workplaces.

Emissions inspection facilities

  • All emissions inspection facilities for heavy diesel commercial motor vehicles, including mobile inspection facilities.

Veterinary services

  • Veterinary services can resume all services by appointment.

Animal services

  • Pet grooming services
  • Pet sitting services
  • Dog walking services
  • Pet training services
  • Training and provision of service animals
  • Effective May 16, 2020, businesses that board animals (e.g., stables) may allow boarders to visit, care for, or ride their animal

Indoor and outdoor household services

  • Private households could now employ workers on or about the premises in activities primarily concerned with the operation of the household such as:
  • Domestic services: housekeepers, cooks, maids, butlers, personal affairs management, nanny services, babysitters, other domestic personnel, etc.
  • Cleaning and maintenance service: house cleaning, indoor/outdoor painting, window cleaning, pool cleaning, general repairs.

Maintenance

  • General maintenance, and repair services can resume, and are no longer limited to “strictly necessary” maintenance.