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Ontario will allow non-essential retail stores to open for curbside pickup next week, as the province allows for some small steps toward reopening the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Premier Doug Ford says garden centres and nurseries will also be allowed to open on Friday, and hardware stores and safety supply stores will be allowed to reopen on Saturday.

He says those stores will be expected to follow the same public health measures as grocery stores and pharmacies currently do, such as physical distancing, offering contactless payment and sanitizing surfaces.

Ontario also extended its emergency orders today, which include the continued closure of non-essential businesses, as the province reported 412 new cases of COVID-19 and 68 more deaths.

The province also renewed lower electricity rates for residential consumers, farms and small businesses to the end of the month. An initial order from March for off-peak rates to be charged all day had been set to expire this week.

The emergency orders, which were set to expire Wednesday, have now been extended for another two weeks, to May 19.