The number of businesses that can open their doors to customers is going to get much larger as of May 19. The first day after the long weekend, construction, retailers not in indoor malls, auto dealers, and others will be permitted to restart the operations they were required to halt under the state of emergency in March.
The Ontario government on Thursday released its framework for Stage 1 of the economic-restart phase of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Formally, this will be the beginning of Phase 2 — Ontario will still be in Phase One, the pandemic phase, until the end of the long weekend.
The government will also be resuming scheduled (non-urgent) procedures at Ontario’s hospitals, under the guidelines laid out last week. That means procedures will resume on a region-by-region basis, according to conditions in local hospitals.
Restrictions will be maintained in a number of areas: retailers inside malls will still not be permitted to open; public pools will remain closed. However, public libraries can reopen for pickup and delivery, marinas can resume recreational services, and individual sports facilities that strictly limit facilities (no changeroom access, no club house) can open. Professional sports that are zero-contact and not played in teams — such as water sports on lakes or other water bodies, horse and dog racing, and tennis — can also resume without audiences.
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Stage 1 of this phase will be maintained for at least 14 days to ensure that new cases of COVID-19 do not overwhelm the health-care system.
Here's the full Stage 1 framework: