Queen’s Park Update – June 12
By Jim McDonell
MPP for S-D-SG
Our collective effort, led by our front-line workers, to reduce the spread of COVID-19, continues to be successful. As a result, the Premier announced that the areas outside of the Golden Horseshoe around Toronto, including our region of Eastern Ontario, will enter Stage 2 of the reopening process. As of Friday, June 12, more businesses are allowed to reopen, and further social and recreational gathering restrictions are being eased. These decisions were made after analyzing the latest data and by consulting with the Chief Medical Officer of Health. Our region is among others that have consistently lowered the rate of new cases and have the adequate capacity to deal with any spike of new cases.
We will now be able to gather in groups of 10 people, instead of five. Thank you to all who have stayed within the five-person limit for such a long time. I know you will be happy to re-connect with family and friends during the coming summer months while continuing physical distancing.
Business owners and operators are also excited to welcome everyone back to their establishments. Back in business are:
- Outdoor patio service offered by restaurants, bars and other establishments;
- Beaches, and more camping at private and Ontario Parks;
- Barbershops, hair salons, beauty salons and tattoo parlours;
- Shopping malls, including food services for take-out and outdoor dining only;
- Tour and guide services, including tasting and tours for wineries, breweries and distilleries;
- Outdoor splash pads and wading pools, and all swimming pools;
- Outdoor team sports training, if physically distanced. No games or scrimmages;
- 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;
- Churches and places of worship, up to 30 percent capacity, while maintaining physical distancing; and
- Establishments that offer weddings and funerals, with limits on social gatherings to 10 people.
For more information, please visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/reopening-ontario. All of the above must follow existing and new guidelines to prevent the spread. Please visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/resources-prevent-covid-19-workplace.
To assist people in returning to work, the government is allowing childcare services to reopen. Similar to emergency childcare centres, strict rules will be in place to limit the opportunity of spread among children and staff. Summer daycare programs will also be allowed this summer.
The reopening process expands the opportunity for additional contact, so it is essential to continue two-metre physical distancing, and if that is not possible, wear a mask; hand wash frequently, and stay home if feeling unwell.
We continue to consult with people on how the restrictions affect them. We are working with organizations to identify safety practices that would allow additional areas to reopen.
The Chief Medical Officer of Health and our command table consider this feedback to develop the next steps of Phase 2. We still have a long way to travel, so we must be careful while considering all factors to avoid new outbreaks that would result in unwanted restrictions.
I want to remind everyone that an up-to-date list of all federal and provincial programs for individuals and businesses is available at http://covidsupports.ca/jimmcdonell. For those who need assistance, my office continues to be available at firstname.lastname@example.org or 613-933-6513 (toll-free 1-800-514-9660).
And finally, remember, as much as you can, stay home and protect yourself and your loved ones.