Today (June 8), the Ontario government announced that it is moving forward with a regional approach to Stage 2 of reopening the province.
The regional approach means that some businesses in Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Halton, Hamilton and other GTA municipalities will have to wait a little longer to reopen due to the higher number of cases in these denser areas.
Effective Friday, June 12, 2020, at 12:01 a.m., the province will increase the limit on social gatherings from five to 10 people across the province (including in Toronto and the GTA).
There will be no travel restrictions in place in the province, so Toronto and GTA residents will not be barred from visiting municipalities that have entered stage 2.
Additionally, all places of worship in Ontario (including those in Toronto and the GTA) will also be permitted to open with physical distancing in place and attendance limited to no more than 30 per cent of the building capacity.
Public health unit regions allowed to move into Stage 2 on Friday, June 12 include:
- Algoma Public Health
- Brant County Health Unit
- Chatham-Kent Public Health
- Eastern Ontario Health Unit
- Grey Bruce Health Unit
- Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit
- Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
- Huron Perth Public Health
- Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health
- Leeds Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
- Middlesex-London Health Unit
- North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit
- Northwestern Health Unit
- Ottawa Public Health
- Peterborough Public Health
- Porcupine Health Unit
- Public Health Sudbury & Districts
- Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services
- Renfrew County and District Health Unit
- Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit
- Southwestern Public Health
- Thunder Bay District Health Unit
- Timiskaming Health Unit
- Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health
“We are able to make this announcement today because of the extraordinary effort of our frontline workers and every other person in the province who helped to stop the spread of this deadly virus,” said Premier Doug Ford.
“Entering Stage 2 means parts of the province will see more people back on the job and an opportunity to get back together with friends and family. Although this is extremely encouraging, I urge everyone to exercise caution and continue to follow public health advice as we are not out of the woods yet.”
Businesses and services permitted to reopen with proper health and safety measures in place in regions entering Stage 2 include:
- Outdoor dine-in services at restaurants, bars and other establishments, including patios, curbside, parking lots and adjacent properties;
- Select personal and personal care services with the proper health and safety measures in place, including tattoo parlours, barbershops, hair salons and beauty salons;
- Shopping malls under existing restrictions, including food services reopening for take-out and outdoor dining only;
- Tour and guide services, such as bike and walking, bus and boat tours, as well as tasting and tours for wineries, breweries and distilleries;
- Water recreational facilities such as outdoor splash pads and wading pools, and all swimming pools;
- Beach access and additional camping at Ontario Parks;
- Camping at private campgrounds;
- Outdoor-only recreational facilities and training for outdoor team sports, with limits to enable physical distancing;
- Drive-in and drive-through venues for theatres, concerts, animal attractions and cultural appreciation, such as art installations;
- Film and television production activities, with limits to enable physical distancing; and
- Weddings and funerals, with limits on social gatherings to 10 people.
As more people return to work, the services they rely on will need to be available regardless of the stage a region is in.
The province will soon release more details on:
- Child care;
- Summer camps;
- Post-secondary education pilots to help people graduate;
- Training centres; and
- Public transit.
At a June 8 press conference, Ford said he’s confident that Toronto and GTA will be able to enter stage 2 soon.
The province says the Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will continue to closely monitor the evolving situation to advise when public health restrictions can be gradually loosened or if they need to be tightened.
“As a result of efforts of all Ontarians to stop the spread of COVID-19, many regions have met the criteria to move into the next stage of our reopening plan, including a decrease in new daily cases and sufficient hospital capacity in the event of any spikes in cases or outbreaks,” said Health Minister Christine Elliott.
“Our regional approach recognizes that different regions in the province are experiencing COVID-19 differently and can safely and gradually ease restrictions and reopen local businesses. We will continue to monitor any shifts in the spread and take decisive action to contain any outbreaks.”
The government, in partnership with health and safety associations, has released more than 100 health and safety guidance documents to help employers in multiple sectors ― including retail, restaurant and food services and child care ― keep spaces safe for workers and customers.
Employers are advised to review these guidance documents and implement appropriate measures to help protect their workers and customers.
For questions about what is currently able to open during Stage 1, or what will be open as the province enters Stage 2, residents can call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.