We all want to get back to the way things were before we heard words like COVID-19, self-isolation, social or physical distancing and community spread.  We are all bearing up as well as possible under the unprecedented circumstances in which we find ourselves.

Provincial governments have, to varying degrees, begun the process of reopening their economies while keeping an eye on a further surge in cases.

On April 20, 2020 the government announced that Health Experts Say the COVID-19 Outbreak Has Likely Peaked in Ontario at lease so far as community spread is concerned. New modelling has been released and this “peak” has come earlier than predicted and with less strain on ICUs that was expected. This is good news.

On Monday the Ford government released A Framework for Reopening our Province. On Thursday, April 30, 2020 the government published Workplace Safety Guidelines that employers in certain sectors will “need to protect workers, customers, and the general public from COVID-19 as it prepares for a gradual reopening of the provincial economy.” The news release provides:

The government safety guidelines released today will provide direction to those working in manufacturing, food manufacturing and processing, restaurant and food service, and the agricultural sector. These measures build on more than 60 guidelines developed by Ontario’s health and safety associations in response to COVID-19 for various sectors such as retail, health care, construction, transportation, police services, firefighters, and transit employees.

In his daily news conference on May 1, 2020, Premier Ford expressed a cautiously optimistic note on reopening and confirmed that Certain Businesses Allowed to Reopen Under Strict Safety Guidelines including:

  • Garden centres and nurseries with curbside pick-up and delivery only;
  • Lawn care and landscaping;
  • Certain listed essential construction projects;
  • Automatic and self-serve car washes;
  • Auto dealerships, open by appointment only;
  • Golf courses may prepare their courses for the upcoming season, but not open to the public; and
    Marinas may also 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.

Although the government indicated that certain businesses would be allowed to re-open under strict controls, they also advised that “it is critical that people continue to stay home, practise physical distancing and only go out for essential reasons, to pick up groceries, prescriptions or to keep a medical appointment.” The government remains in Phase One under the of A Framework for Reopening our Province – opening select workplaces that can immediately meet or modify operations to meet public health guidance and occupational health and safety requirement.