Ontario Announces Additional Workplaces that Can Reopen
Additional seasonal, retail and household businesses must follow public health guidelines
TORONTO — Today, the Ontario government announced the retailers, seasonal businesses and health and community service providers who will be permitted to open or expand their services on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., provided that the general trend on health indicators continues to improve as part of the first stage of the government's reopening framework. The workplaces opening as part this stage are well-positioned to put workplace safety measures in place and get more people back to work, while not overburdening public transit and other services.
The government also announced additional seasonal services and activities will be permitted to open as early as Saturday May 16, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., in time for the Victoria Day long weekend, as key public health indicators continue to show progress.
The details were provided by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, and Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development.
"During the last several weeks, the people of Ontario have been called on to make incredible sacrifices to help us stop the spread of COVID-19, including staying home from work, closing down businesses and going without a regular paycheque," said Premier Ford. "However, we are reopening even more of our businesses beginning this long weekend. We are taking a cautious, balanced approach to our economic reopening, to protect the health and safety of everyone."
As soon as 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, May 16, 2020:
The government's responsible and measured approach to reopening will allow business owners and service provider's time to ensure workplaces are safe for staff, consumers and the general public. 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:
"We are taking a cautious, practical and reasonable approach to restarting the economy, while maintaining the health and safety of the people of Ontario as our top priority," said Minister Phillips. "This will allow Ontario to emerge from this outbreak with a clear path to economic recovery that keeps people safe and healthy."
The government and health and safety associations have released more than 90 safety guidance documents to assist employers in multiple sectors, including construction, retail, facilities maintenance and manufacturing. As new sectors of the economy begin to reopen, additional resources will be made available to help protect the safety of workers and the general public.
To support business-owners, workers and the economic recovery of the province, the government has launched a website to provide businesses with information on personal protective equipment (PPE) suppliers. The Workplace PPE Supplier Directory has an up-to-date list of Ontario companies and business associations that are ready to supply personal protective equipment.
"Ontario's businesses stepped up at the outset of this crisis not only to keep their workers and customers safe, but to come forward with innovative ideas and solutions that represent the best of the Ontario Spirit," said Minister Fedeli. "This new website is truly a made-in-Ontario approach with Ontario businesses helping Ontario businesses."
The government continues to prioritize the needs of patients, frontline health care workers and first responders when it comes to having critical equipment and supplies to protect themselves during the COVID-19 outbreak. Businesses are encouraged to access only the PPE they need to keep their employees and customers safe.
"We will leave no stone unturned in our mission to keep workers in this province safe," said Minister McNaughton. "Ontario's labour laws are clear: businesses must protect the health and safety of workers, including against workplace hazards like COVID-19. That's why our ministry has released practical safety guidelines, doubled our capacity to help people by phone and hired more inspectors. We want to ensure everyone is safe at work."
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 handwashing 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 Minister 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."