The Ontario government is allowing certain businesses and workplaces to reopen as long as they comply with strict public health measures and operate safely during the COVID-19 outbreak. Those permitted to start up include seasonal businesses and some essential construction projects.

The government, in partnership with Ontario’s health and safety associations, has developed more than 60 guidelines in response to COVID-19. These sector-specific measures will help employers prepare their workplaces so they can be reopened safely and ensure workers, customers and the general public are protected.

By following the proper health and safety guidelines these businesses were permitted to begin operations on Monday, May 4 at 12:01 a.m.:

  • Garden centres and nurseries with curbside pick-up and delivery only;
  • Lawn care and landscaping;
  • Additional essential construction projects that include:
    • shipping and logistics;
    • broadband, telecommunications, and digital infrastructure;
    • any other project that supports the improved delivery of goods and services;
    • municipal projects;
    • colleges and universities;
    • child care centres;
    • schools;
    • site preparation, excavation, and servicing for institutional, commercial, industrial and residential development;
  • 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; 
  • 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.

As of May 6, the government has announced further updates to the above list. Moving with “cautious optimism”, Ontario will allow garden centres, nurseries, hardware stores and safety supply stores to reopen so long as they adhere to the same public health measures currently in place at grocery stores, Premier Doug Ford says.  The public will be allowed to shop in these stores as long as physical distancing, contact-less payment and sanitization measures are in place. 

As of May 8, Nurseries and garden centres may open. As of May 9, Hardware stores and safety supply stores. And as of May 11, Retail stores with street entrances will be permitted to reopen for curbside pickup.  The province will also expand what counts as essential construction with work allowed on condominiums and apartments, Ford said.

Although the government is allowing some businesses to reopen, the province is not yet technically in the first stage of its reopening framework, and on May 6, the province extended its emergency orders until May 19. Ontario is also keeping lower electricity prices in place until May 31. Electricity rate relief was first brought in March 24 to save the average household $20 monthly. Since then, ratepayers on time-of-use rates have been charged the evening, overnight and weekend price of 10.1 cents per kilowatt hour for 45 days in a measure costing $162 million in foregone revenue. Small businesses and farms also got rate relief, saving an average of $150 and $300 a month respectively.

Click here for Health and Safety Association Guidance Documents for Workplaces During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Click here to find sector-specific guidelines and posters to help protect workers, customers and the general public from coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ontario

Source: Government of Ontario
Source: CBC
Source: The Star
Source: CTV News
Source: Global News