Premier Ford unveils details of Ontario’s 1st stage of reopening


Ontario’s first stage of economic recovery will include resuming construction projects and reopening of some workplaces, seasonal activities and healthcare settings.

Starting May 19, retail stores outside of shopping malls with street entrances can begin reopening with physical distancing measures. Outdoor recreational activities and many individual sport competitions will also get the green light starting Tuesday.

Golf courses, marinas and private parks will be allowed to open earlier, starting Saturday — ahead of the Victoria Day Weekend.

The first stage also involves the “gradually restarting” scheduled surgeries, along with allowing libraries to open for pickup, and allowing property management services, such as cleaning, painting and pool maintenance, to resume.

Domestic workers, such as housekeepers and cooks, can also resume work Tuesday — although Ontarians are technically still required to limit contact to those inside their own households.

“Businesses should open only if they’re ready,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford warned, adding the province will be watching the COVID-19 case numbers like a hawk. “We cannot let our guard down now.”

Stage one of the province’s reopening plan will see workplaces gradually begin to reopen “but working from home should continue as much as possible,” the plan states.

As for when the next stage of the recovery plan might begin, “there is no timeframe” on that, the premier said.

In its recovery framework last month, the government said each stage will last at least two to four weeks, at which point Ontario’s chief medical officer of health will be able to tighten certain restrictions, extend the stage or advise that the province can move into the next phase.