EASTERN ONTARIO — More workplaces and amenities — hair salons, barbershops and restaurant patios among them — are able to reopen 12:01 a.m. Friday in a slew of Ontario regions, including those covered by the Eastern Ontario, Ottawa and Leeds and Grenville health units.
Premier Doug Ford and members of his cabinet today announced the “Stage 2” easing of restrictions in communities where the government says it is safe to do so. That does not include the Greater Toronto Area and other major urban areas west of the provincial capital, where the COVID-19 caseload remains higher than other parts of Ontario.
However, the limit on social gatherings will rise from five to 10 people, in all regions of the province. Churches, too, will be allowed to reopen everywhere in Ontario, provided physical distancing is in place and attendance is limited to no more than 30 per cent of building capacity.
The premier attributed the coming change to the “extraordinary effort of our frontline workers and every other person in the province who helped to stop the spread of this deadly virus. “Entering Stage 2 means parts of the province will see more people back on the job and an opportunity to get back together with friends and family. Although this is extremely encouraging, I urge everyone to exercise caution and continue to follow public health advice as we are not out of the woods yet.”
Businesses and services permitted to reopen with proper health and safety measures in place in regions entering Stage 2 (such as Eastern Ontario) include:
• Outdoor dine-in services at restaurants, bars and other establishments, including patios, curbside, parking lots and adjacent properties;
• Select personal and personal care services with the proper health and safety measures in place, including tattoo parlours, barber shops, hair salons and beauty salons;
• Shopping malls under existing restrictions, including food services reopening for take-out and outdoor dining only;
• Tour and guide services, such as bike and walking, bus and boat tours, as well as tasting and tours for wineries, breweries and distilleries;
• Water recreational facilities such as outdoor splash pads and wading pools, and all swimming pools;
• Beach access and additional camping at Ontario Parks;
• Camping at private campgrounds;
• Outdoor-only recreational facilities and training for outdoor team sports, with limits to enable physical distancing;
• Drive-in and drive-through venues for theatres, concerts, animal attractions and cultural appreciation, such as art installations;
• Film and television production activities, with limits to enable physical distancing; and
• Weddings and funerals, with limits on social gatherings to 10 people.
“As a result of efforts of all Ontarians to stop the spread of COVID-19, many regions have met the criteria to move into the next stage of our reopening plan, including a decrease in new daily cases and sufficient hospital capacity in the event of any spikes in cases or outbreaks,” said Health Minister Christine Elliott. “Our regional approach recognizes that different regions in the province are experiencing COVID-19 differently and can safely and gradually ease restrictions and reopen local businesses. We will continue to monitor any shifts in the spread and take decisive action to contain any outbreaks.”
“The health and long-term economic well-being of the people of Ontario has guided every decision we have made in response to COVID-19,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance and Chair of the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee. “The people and employers of Ontario have demonstrated responsible behaviour throughout the global pandemic. I’m confident that will continue in Stage 2 and beyond. Our collective health and the economic recovery of the province depend on it.”
The province says it will soon release more details on child care, summer camps, post-secondary education pilots to help people graduate, training centres and public transit.
Public health unit regions allowed to move into Stage 2 on Friday, June 12, at 12:01 a.m. include:
•Algoma Public Health
•Brant County Health Unit
•Chatham-Kent Public Health
•Eastern Ontario Health Unit
•Grey Bruce Health Unit
•Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit
•Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
•Huron Perth Public Health
•Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health
•Leeds Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
•Middlesex-London Health Unit
•North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit
•Northwestern Health Unit
•Ottawa Public Health
•Peterborough Public Health
•Porcupine Health Unit
•Public Health Sudbury & Districts
•Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services
•Renfrew County and District Health Unit
•Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit
•Southwestern Public Health
•Thunder Bay District Health Unit
•Timiskaming Health Unit
•Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health
At the beginning of each week, the government will provide an update on the ongoing assessment of regions and whether those currently excluded from Stage 2 will attain the status by the end of that week. “I’m confident the rest of the province will get to Stage 2 very, very soon,” said Premier Ford.
Below, Eastern Ontario Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis discusses his region’s entry into Stage 2.
Stage 2 refers to the mid level of the economic restart ‘phase’ (Phase 2 ), under the provincial COVID-19 Action Plan. Entering Stage 3 would mark a near-total reopening, prior to settling into the recovery phase or Phase 3.
“Everyone, regardless of where they live in the province, must continue to follow public health advice, including to practise physical distancing, wear a face covering if physical distancing is a challenge, wash hands frequently and thoroughly, and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth,” says the province. The Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will continue “to closely monitor the evolving situation to advise when public health restrictions can be gradually loosened or if they need to be tightened.”
The government says employers are advised to review COVID-19-related guidance documents at Ontario.ca/COVIDsafety to ensure the safety of their workers and customers.