Province announces Stage 1 re-opening

The provincial government has announced it is moving into Stage 1 of its reopening plan by expanding the list of businesses and services that will be allowed to resume operations.
Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson welcomed the news, noting things are moving ahead because Ontarians have been following the guidelines and rules set out by local health officials. ”Because of the commitment to minimize community transmission by our local frontline health care workers and first responders, businesses and municipalities we are now able to move forward to reopen businesses in our communities,” she said. “But in order to keep our local businesses open we need to support them by continuing to respect public health directives.”
The list includes, as of 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, May 16, 2020:
*   Golf courses will be able to open, with clubhouses open only for washrooms and restaurants open only for take-out.
*   Marinas, boat clubs and public boat launches may open for recreational use.
*     Private parks and campgrounds may open to enable preparation for the season and to allow access for trailers and recreational vehicles whose owners have a full season contract.
*    Businesses that board animals, such as stables, may allow boarders to visit, care for or ride their animal.
Assuming trends in key public health indicators continue to improve, Ontario’s first stage of reopening will begin on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. and will include:
*      Retail services, that are not in shopping malls, and have separate street-front entrances with measures in place that can enable physical distancing, such as limiting the number of customers in the store at any one time and booking appointments beforehand or on the spot.
*     Seasonal businesses and recreational activities for individual or single competitors, including training and sport competitions conducted by a recognized national or provincial sport organization. This includes indoor and outdoor non-team sport competitions that can be played while maintaining physical distancing and without spectators, such as tennis, track and field and horse racing.
*     Animal services, specifically pet care services, such as grooming and training, and regular veterinary appointments.
*     Indoor and outdoor household services that can follow public health guidelines, such as housekeepers, cooks, cleaning and maintenance.
*    Lifting essential workplace limits on all construction.
*      Allowing certain health and medical services to resume, such as in-person counselling; in-person services, in addition to virtual services, delivered by health professionals; and scheduled surgeries, all based on the ability to meet pre-specified conditions.
Thompson said to ensure that these first actions to reopen the province are a success, the public should continue to adhere to public health measures, including practising physical distancing or wearing a face covering when physical distancing is difficult or not possible, as well as regular hand washing and staying home when ill. The Chief Medical Officer of Health will closely monitor the evolving situation to advise when certain public health restrictions, including adjustments to social gatherings can be gradually loosened or if they need to be tightened.
“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 Health Minister Christine Elliott. “As we move forward with caution, public health experts will closely monitor each stage of reopening to carefully assess the evolution of the outbreak, so we can benefit from the best practices and lessons learned across Ontario.”
MPP Thompson has been especially impressed with how Huron-Bruce residents have responded to the challenges. “I know this has been hard, but we are seeing the results of our actions and I know the sacrifices we have made to date will pay dividends in the long run,” she said.
To conclude the Huron-Bruce MPP said, “I encourage everyone to continue supporting our frontline healthcare workers and first responders; and don’t forget to shop local!”