Londoners looking to get out of the house will have a lot more options as most regions in the province move to Stage 2 of Phase 2 of Ontario’s coronavirus pandemic reopening plan.
At the stroke of midnight Friday, loosened restrictions across the province mean people can gather in groups of 10 — up from the previous five — provided that people remain two metres apart from anyone not in their immediate household.
Places of worship will be allowed to reopen with strict physical distancing measures in place and no more than 30 per cent capacity.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of London, however, has already noted its not yet ready to reopen.
While the Great Toronto/Hamilton/Niagara area remains under stricter lockdown, the London, Ont., region is among those to see additional reopening of services. Things like hair or beauty salons, outdoor dining, and shopping malls are now permitted, provided new safety protocols are in place. Though again, not all of those allowed to reopen are ready to do so — including many child care centres and local restaurants.
Unless dates and times are otherwise stated, it’s best to contact individual businesses and organizations ahead of time to confirm whether they are open and what new protocols you’ll need to follow.
Hair and body
Hair services, beauty salons and shops, hair removal services, piercing services, tattoo studios, tanning salons, and day spas are among the establishments allowed to reopen with “the proper health and safety protocols in place.”
The province is not yet allowing “services that tend to a customer’s face” (like eyebrow grooming or face makeup) to reopen, nor is it allowing places where there’s a lot of steam, like saunas or baths.
Dining, shopping, entertainment
Restaurants, bars, food trucks, and other food and drink establishments can open for dining in outdoor areas only.
Shopping centres, malls, and markets can open now too, but will have to follow the same protocols as other retail services. Movie theatres within malls, however, will not be allowed to operate at this stage.
White Oaks Mall and Masonville Place have both confirmed they will reopen on Friday.
Outdoor recreation, beaches, trails
Indoor and outdoor swimming pools and outdoor splash pads and wading pools are allowed to open but with no access to high-contact features like slides and climbing structures.
The City of London announced Thursday that most of its spray pads will be open on Friday, but city-owned pools and park washrooms will remain closed. The city says it’s “working quickly” to reopen them and more information will be shared “as soon as these spaces are ready to open.”
Outdoor recreation activities that offer low-contact experiences — like paintball, mini-golf, and archery ranges — can also reopen.
East Park says its golf course, driving range, mini golf, go karts, and batting cages will all open on Friday but all other activities will remain closed. Tin Cup has also confirmed they’ll be able to offer mini-putt starting Friday.
Port Stanley will not be opening its beaches until June 22.
Grand Bend in Lambton County, meanwhile, is among the regions that are not permitted to move entirely to Phase 2 Stage 2.
The Upper Thames River Conservation Authority says day-use washrooms are now open at Fanshawe in London and will open at Pittock in Woodstock on June 15.
Backcountry camping at Wildwood in St. Marys will open June 22.
An announcement on overnight camping is expected June 16. In the meantime, several other services already resumed earlier this month.
Community centres, libraries, museums
Libraries are allowed to reopen with limited on-site services like computer access and contact-less book pickup and drop-off, but the London Public Library says its branches will remain closed. However, the library is offering a pickup service.
Museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, and outdoor heritage institutions are able to open, with restrictions, but the latest update from Museum London notes it also remains closed.
The City of London will be offering more services starting June 15 — including things like marriage licences, tree removal permits, burial permits, and public participation meetings.
Things like house sitters, party planners, personal shoppers, and wedding chapels will be able to operate once again. Personal trainers are also permitted, but outside of gyms only.
Film and television production activities can resume, as can photography studios and services, and indoor and outdoor tour and guide services. Venues “not otherwise restricted” can open for weddings, funerals and similar gatherings but they still have to be limited in size.
–With files from Global News’ Kevin Nielsen.