Reopening Ontario: Stage 1

Ontario announced that it will be moving towards Stage 1 of its plan to reopen the Province.

The Ontario government has provided the framework that will be used to reopen the province.  Our summary of the Plan can be found in our In a Flash article Most Provinces Announce Strategies to Reopen Economy

Effective May 19, 2020, according to the Province of Ontario’s announcement, the following industries will have restrictions eased so they can re-open:

  • Lifting essential workplace limits on construction and resuming all construction.
  • Opening retail located outside of shopping malls with a separate street-front entrance, with restrictions to enable physical distancing which can include:
    • limiting the number of customers in a store at any one time or by square metre
    • booking appointments beforehand or on the spot
    • continuing to encourage curbside pickup or deliveries
  • Opening motor vehicle dealerships, including:
    • new and used cars and trucks
    • motorcycles, boats and other motor and recreational vehicles, such as ATVs
  • Allowing media operations, specifically:
    • music recording, including production, distribution, publishing and studios
    • interactive digital media, including programming and development
    • film and television post-production and animation studios
    • publishing, including newspapers, video games and books
  • Opening non-essential professional services related to conducting research and experimental development in physical, engineering and life sciences, such as biotechnology, agriculture and industrial research and development labs
  • Allowing emissions inspection facilities to conduct heavy vehicle emissions testing.
  • Further opening seasonal businesses, activities and services, such as:
    • golf driving ranges
    • recreational services at marinas
    • rod and gun clubs
    • cycling tracks
  • Allowing sport activity for individual/single competitors, including training and competitions conducted by a recognized Provincial Sport Organization, National Sport Organization, or recognized national provincial training centres. This includes indoor and outdoor non-team sport competitions that can be played while maintaining physical distancing and without spectators, such as:
    • water sports on lakes and outdoor bodies of water (no swimming pool sports), such as rowing and sailing
    • low-contact racquet sports like tennis, badminton, pickleball and ping pong
    • athletics, such as track and field, gymnastics and figure skating
    • animal-related sports, such as horse racing
  • Gradually restarting health care services, which will need to ensure they maintain capacity to respond to COVID-19, including:
    • hospitals, independent health facilities, clinics and private practices providing scheduled surgeries and procedures, based on their ability to meet specified conditions, as outlined in A Measured Approach to Planning for Surgeries and Procedures During the COVID-19 Pandemic
    • supporting services for surgeries and procedures, such as diagnostics and post-acute rehab, based on their ability to meet specified conditions, as outlined in A Measured Approach to Planning for Surgeries and Procedures During the COVID-19 Pandemic
    • in-person counselling, including psychology and addictions counselling
    • resuming in-person services, in addition to virtual services, delivered by health professionals such as Children’s Treatment Centres
  • Allowing services for animals and pets to resume, specifically:
    • pet care, including pet grooming, pet sitting and pet training
    • regular veterinary appointments
  • Opening libraries for pickup or deliveries
  • Allowing indoor and outdoor household services that can follow public health guidelines to resume, including:
    • domestic services, such as housekeepers and cooks
    • lifting essential workplace limits on maintenance, repair and property management services, such as cleaning, painting, and pool maintenance

It must be noted that the official Regulation(s) outlining the Stage 1 reopenings are not yet available, and as such, may be subject to change.

Finally, any and all work performed in the above noted industries must be performed pursuant to the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the guidance provided by the various public health authorities.  The Government has released 90 Health and Safety Guidance documents to assist Employers which can be found in our In a Flash article Ontario Announces Safety Guidelines for Employers for the Gradual Re-Opening of the Economy.

We will continue to update our clients with information as soon as it becomes available. If you have any questions about this topic, other COVID-19 related questions, or would like assistance with developing and/or reviewing pandemic plans, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer, or refer to the Firm’s COVID-19 website resources.

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