TORONTO – Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced the first phase of reopening the province today (May 14th).
Beginning at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, May 16th, just in time for the Victoria Day long weekend, golf courses, marinas, boat clubs, and public boat launches can reopen. Businesses that board animals like stables may allow boarders to visit, care or ride their animals.
Private parks and campgrounds can open for preparing for the season, and allow access to trailers and RVs for owners who have a full season contract with a business.
Golf courses can open with the clubhouses only open for using washrooms. Restaurants at golf courses can only be open for take-out food.
After the long weekend, on May 19th, all businesses with a street entrance (not enclosed shopping malls) can reopen once the business has put into place physical distancing measures in accordance with the provinces emergency measures.
“Businesses should reopen only if they are able to,” Ford said. “Safety comes first.”
Seasonal businesses and recreation activities for individuals can reopen. This includes indoor and outdoor non-team sport competitions that can be played while maintaining physical distancing without spectators. This includes sports like tennis, track and field, horse racing, and pickleball. Contact and team sports like soccer, baseball, and basketball remain closed under phase one.
Animal services including pet care, grooming, and non-emergency veterinary services will reopen May 19th.
In-person counselling and other health services can also resume. Many of those have been operating virtually during the COVID-19 restrictions.
There has been no change to physical distancing restrictions limiting groups to no more than five people.
Ford said that there was no time frame for phases two and three of reopening.
“We must watch the trends like a hawk,” Ford said. “We cannot take our progress for granted.”
The province also announced that under phase one of the reopening, all essential workplace limits in the construction industry have been lifted.
“Because of the collective efforts of all Ontarians, we are making real and significant progress in our battle against COVID-19, with the number of new cases each day shrinking,” said Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott.