Ontario allows more seasonal, retail and household businesses to reopen

Provided that the general trend on health indicators continues to improve, the Ontario government today announced the reopening of additional workplaces, services and activities over the next few days as part of the first stage of the government’s reopening framework. The workplaces opening must be well-positioned to put workplace safety measures in place and get more people back to work, while not overburdening public transit and other services.

Seasonal services and activities — this long weekend

Additional seasonal services and activities will be permitted to open as early as Saturday May 16, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., in time for the Victoria Day long weekend, as key public health indicators continue to show progress. These are:

  • Golf courses will be able to open, with clubhouses open only for washrooms and restaurants open only for take-out.
  • Marinas, boat clubs and public boat launches may open for recreational use.
  • Private parks and campgrounds may open to enable preparation for the season and to allow access for trailers and recreational vehicles whose owners have a full season contract.
  • Businesses that board animals, such as stables, may allow boarders to visit, care for or ride their animal.

Additional retailers, seasonal businesses, and health and community service providers — next week

Additional retailers, seasonal businesses, and health and community service providers will be permitted to open or expand their services on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. assuming trends in key public health indicators continue to improve. These  include:

  • Retail services that are not in shopping malls and have separate street-front entrances with measures in place that can enable physical distancing, such as limiting the number of customers in the store at any one time and booking appointments beforehand or on the spot.
  • Seasonal businesses and recreational activities for individual or single competitors, including training and sport competitions conducted by a recognized national or provincial sport organization. This includes indoor and outdoor non-team sport competitions that can be played while maintaining physical distancing and without spectators, such as tennis, track and field and horse racing.
  • Animal services, specifically pet care services, such as grooming and training, and regular veterinary appointments.
  • Indoor and outdoor household services that can follow public health guidelines, such as housekeepers, cooks, cleaning and maintenance.
  • Lifting essential workplace limits on construction.
  • 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.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

To support business-owners, workers and the economic recovery of the province, the government has launched a website to provide businesses with information on personal protective equipment (PPE) suppliers. Business owners should consult the Workplace PPE Supplier Directory for an up-to-date list of Ontario companies and business associations that are ready to supply personal protective equipment. Businesses are encouraged to access only the PPE they need to keep their employees and customers safe. Business owners with questions about what will be open or impacts to your business or employment may call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.

Public compliance needed to ensure first stage of reopening succeeds

Members of the public should continue to adhere to public health measures, including practising physical distancing or wearing a face covering when physical distancing is difficult or not possible, as well as regular handwashing and staying home when ill. Public health experts will closely monitor each stage of reopening to carefully assess the evolution of the outbreak


Hogeveen,E. and Blodgett,S.(2020,May14)  Ontario Announces Additional Workplaces that Can Reopen  [media release]


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