Plans to reopen Ontario are in the works

On April 27, the provincial government released its Framework for Reopening our Province, an outline of how the government will begin to relax emergency orders that have been in place beginning with the announcement of the closure of public schools on March 12, and the subsequent emergency declaration on March 17, which saw the closure of all non-essential businesses, including many retail outlets and restaurants.
Criteria for the framework have been written based on the advice provided by the province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams, and other health experts. It recommends the safe, gradual reopening of businesses, services and public spaces. The framework also provides details of an outreach strategy, led by the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee, to help form the restart of the provincial economy.
“Our top priority remains protecting the health and safety of the people of Ontario and supporting our frontline heroes as we do everything in our power to contain and defeat this deadly virus,” said Premier Ford. “At the same time, we are preparing for the responsible restart of our economy. This next phase of our response to COVID-19 is designed to help us map out what needs to be done, and when, to get us back on the road to recovery.”
Each stage of the reopening will be monitored carefully for two to four week periods, to determine if it will be necessary to change course to maintain public health.
Stage one is directed at businesses that were ordered to close or restrict operations, and will include the opening of select workplaces that can immediately modify operations to meet public health guidance. It will include the opening some outdoor spaces, like parks, and allow for a greater number of individuals to attend some events. Hospitals would also begin to offer some non-urgent and scheduled surgeries, and other healthcare services.
Stage two will include the opening of more workplaces, based on risk assessments, which may include some service industries and additional office and retail workplaces. Some larger public gatherings would be allowed, and more outdoor spaces would open.
Stage three will see the responsible opening of all workplaces and further relaxing of restrictions on public gatherings.
Throughout each stage, continued protections for vulnerable populations will remain in place, along with the continued practice of physical distancing, hand washing and respiratory hygiene, and significant mitigation plans to limit health risks.
On May 1, the premier announced a list of select businesses which could open under proper health and safety guidelines, beginning on May 4. The list included garden centres and nurseries offering curbside pick-up and delivery only, lawn care and landscaping companies, additional essential construction projects that would take place in the industries of shipping and logistics, broadband, telecommunications, 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. The list also included automatic and self-serve car washes, auto dealerships (open by appointment only), and while golf courses are not allowed to open to the public, they can prepare their courses for the upcoming season. Marinas have also been allowed to 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.
To reopen the economy, the government will consider factors such as the risk of the spread of COVID-19 and the ability to implement protective measures to keep workplaces safe. The Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will provide advice to the government about easing public health measures using a range of set criteria, including a consistent two-to-four week decrease in the number of new daily COVID-19 cases and sufficient acute and critical care capacity, including access to ventilators and ongoing availability of personal protective equipment. It also includes that approximately 90 per cent of new COVID-19 contacts be reached by local public health officials within one day, with guidance and direction to contain community spread; and the continued testing of suspected COVID-19 cases, especially of vulnerable populations, to detect new outbreaks quickly.
The government insists that it is critical that people continue to stay home, practice physical distancing and good hygiene and continue to limit trips outside the home to essential reasons only, such as picking up groceries, medications or to see a healthcare professional.

Plans to reopen Ontario are in the works was last modified: May 6th, 2020 by Tammy Schneider

1 thought on “Plans to reopen Ontario are in the works

  1. My family has been a property owner in Bruce Township for almost 75 years. I would like to receive assurances from the Municipality that we are free to return to my cottage, where we have paid substantial property taxes and supported the local towns and businesses all these years. We are planning to return to the cottage on the Victoria Day weekend and expect full access without interference and/or penalty of any kind. All Ontario residents are entitled to equal treatment under the law, with full civil liberties, and for that privilege, we accept the same responsibilities and restrictions towards the current Coronavirus situation. Has a decision been made locally that all property owners will be permitted full access to our properties without interference or penalty starting immediately. Much thanks! Sue Dalton

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