The Ontario government says it is allowing certain business and workplaces to reopen on May 4, as long as they comply with strict public health measures set out during the coronavirus pandemic.
Some businesses permitted to start back up include seasonal businesses and some essential construction projects.
“We have consulted with our chief medical officer, and today we are able to move forward with opening a small, small list of very specific businesses,” Premier Doug Ford said. “Many of these are seasonable businesses that we are confident can operate safely as long as they comply with public health measures and workplace guidelines.”
Ford made the announcement at Queen’s Park on Friday afternoon alongside Minister of Finance Rod Phillips, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Vic Fedeli and Minister of Health Christine Elliott.
The province on Thursday provided more than 60 guidelines for various business sectors to reopen safely.
“These sector-specific measures will help employers prepare their workplaces so they can be reopened safely and ensure workers, customers and the general public are protected,” the province said.
On Monday, May 4 at 12:01 a.m., if they are following the proper health and safety guidelines, the province said these businesses will be permitted to begin operations:
- Garden centres and nurseries with curbside pick-up and delivery only.
- Lawn care and landscaping.
- Additional essential construction projects that include: shipping and logistics; broadband, telecommunications, and digital infrastructure; any other project that supports the improved delivery of goods and services; municipal projects; colleges and universities; child care centres; schools; and site preparation, excavation, and servicing for institutional, commercial, industrial and residential development.
- Automatic and self-serve car washes.
- Auto dealerships, open by appointment only.
- Golf courses may prepare their courses for the upcoming season, but not open to the public.
- Marinas may also begin preparations for the recreational boating season by servicing boats and other watercraft and placing boats in the water, but not open to the public. Boats and watercraft must be secured to a dock in the marina until public access is allowed.
“In the coming days and weeks, I am hopeful that we will meet more of our health targets.” Ford continued. “I am very optimistic that in the near future that we will be able to announce additional businesses will be able to open up safely.”
“People are eager to get back to work, I know that.”
When it comes to enforcement, Ford told reporters that it will be up to bylaw officers across the province.
He also spoke about the challenges of securing PPE (personal protective equipment) and hand sanitizer for businesses even as the province looks at ramping up supply.
“It’s a challenge, it’s a challenge on all fronts,” Ford said.
“We’re gonna work as hard as we can to make sure that the businesses have their requirements that they need.”
On Friday, Ontario reported 421 new coronavirus cases and 39 new deaths — totaling 16,608 cases and 1,121 deaths since the outbreak began.