WEST CARLETON — The provincial government is giving the green light to get more people back to work.
“Today (June 8), the Ontario government announced it is getting more people back to work and more recreational activities open by moving forward with a regional approach to Stage 2 of re-opening the province,” the province released in a statement. “In consultation with the chief medical officer of health and local health officials, the government is easing restrictions in communities where it is safe to do so, based on trends of key public health indicators such as lower rates of transmission, increased capacity in hospitals, and progress made in testing.
Effective Friday, June 12, at 12:01 a.m., the province will increase the limit on social gatherings from five to 10 people across the province, regardless of whether a region has moved to Stage 2. Additionally, all places of worship in Ontario 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 to ensure the safety of worshippers.
Public health unit regions allowed to move into Stage 2 on Friday, June 12 at 12:01 a.m. 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
Details of the Stage 2 reopening were provided by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, and Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development at today’s daily press briefing.
“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,” Ford said. “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, barber shops, 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.
“The health and long-term economic well-being of the people of Ontario has guided every decision we have made in response to COVID-19,” Phillips said. “The people and employers of Ontario have demonstrated responsible behaviour throughout the global pandemic. I’m confident that will continue in Stage 2 and beyond. Our collective health and the economic recovery of the province depend on it.”
At the beginning of each week, the government will provide an update on the ongoing assessment of these regions, and whether they are ready to move into Stage 2 at the end of the week.
Everyone, regardless of where they live in the province, must continue to follow public health advice, including to practise physical distancing, wear a face covering if physical distancing is a challenge, wash hands frequently and thoroughly, and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. 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,” Elliott said. “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 at Ontario.ca/COVIDsafety to help employers in multiple sectors ― including retail, restaurant and food services and child care ― keep spaces safe for workers and customers. As they prepare to reopen, employers are strongly advised to review these guidance documents and implement appropriate measures to help protect their workers and customers.
“Ontario employers have the information and the tools they need to keep workers safe,” McNaughton said. “That includes safety guidelines, posters and tip sheets to promote safe workplaces and help stop the spread of COVID-19. I strongly advise everyone to visit Ontario.ca/COVIDsafety to read, download, print and post them, for your sake and the sake of those around you.”
“Since the beginning of this pandemic, our government has worked together with Ontario’s business community to mobilize our manufacturing and innovation might to develop made-in-Ontario solutions,” Fedeli said. “As we proceed into Phase 2 of the reopening process, we will continue to support both businesses and workers as we move forward on the path to economic recovery together.”
For questions about what is currently able to open during Stage 1, or what will be open or impacts to your business or employment when we enter Stage 2, call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.
The Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee wants to hear directly from people and organizations from all regions and sectors to help inform the next steps in Ontario’s Action Plan in response to COVID-19. You can provide your input here.
Visit Ontario.ca/reopen to learn how you can provide your feedback on the impacts of COVID-19 on personal finances, business supports and government relief measures.
On April 1, 2020, the government launched the $50 million Ontario Together Fund to support the development of proposals submitted by businesses and individuals through the Ontario Together web portal and help businesses retool their operations.
The government has launched the Workplace PPE Supplier Directory to provide businesses with information on personal protective equipment (PPE) suppliers. The directory can be accessed here.