Saturday May 9, 2020
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday May 9, 2020
Ontario to reopen some retail stores within days, moving with ‘cautious optimism’ amid COVID-19
Ontario will relax some of its coronavirus restrictions in the days ahead, moving with “cautious optimism” to 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, Ford said at his daily briefing Wednesday.
Select retailers can reopen according to this schedule:
• Friday: Nurseries and garden centres
• Saturday: Hardware stores and safety supply stores
• Monday: 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.
“We have seen in other jurisdictions that moving too fast, ignoring the advice given on this virus and even giving it an inch can set us back,” Ford said. “So we will move cautiously.”
Asked about when restaurants might reopen, Ford said his hope is that they can do so “sooner than later,” but provided no benchmark on how low Ontario’s daily new case count would have to go before that happens.
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 Wednesday extended its emergency orders until May 19.
Stage one of the reopening framework would allow workplaces that can modify operations to open their doors, the opening of parks, allowing for more people at certain events such as funerals, and having hospitals resume some non-urgent surgeries.
But before all that can happen, the chief medical officer of health is looking for a consistent, two-to-four week decrease in the number of new cases. So far, the province is in day four of a downward slope. (CBC)