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Ontario announces second stage of reopening outside GTHA, hikes limit on social gatherings

Tuesday, June 09, 2020 @ 3:35 PM | By John Schofield

Starting June 12, 24 of Ontario’s 34 health units will be allowed to move into stage 2 of the province’s reopening, the Progressive Conservative government of Premier Doug Ford announced in a June 8 news release.

The second phase of reopening in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area and around Windsor, Ont., will be delayed until daily new cases of COVID-19 are consistently decreasing.

Areas slated for reopening as of June 12 include the Ottawa area, London, Chatham, Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, Kingston, Peterborough, and Thunder Bay.

In all areas of the province, however, the province will increase the limit on social gatherings from five to 10 people effective June 12, the news release stated. All places of worship will also be permitted to reopen with physical distancing in place and attendance limited to no more than 30 per cent of the building capacity to ensure the safety of worshippers.

In areas entering stage 2, businesses and services permitted to reopen with proper health and safety measures in place include:

• Outdoor dine-in services at restaurants, bars and other establishments, including patios, curbside, parking lots and adjacent properties;
• Select personal and personal care services with the proper health and safety measures in place, including tattoo parlours, barber shops, hair salons and beauty salons;
• Shopping malls under existing restrictions, including food services reopening for take-out and outdoor dining only;
• Tour and guide services, such as bike and walking, bus and boat tours, as well as tasting and tours for wineries, breweries and distilleries;
• Water recreational facilities such as outdoor splash pads and wading pools and all swimming pools;
• Beach access and additional camping at Ontario parks;
• Camping at private campgrounds;
• Outdoor-only recreational facilities and training for outdoor team sports, with limits to enable physical distancing;
• Drive-in and drive-through venues for theatres, concerts, animal attractions and cultural appreciation, such as art installations;
• Film and television production activities, with limits to enable physical distancing; and
• Weddings and funerals, with limits on social gatherings to 10 people.

“Entering stage 2 means parts of the province will see more people back on the job and an opportunity to get back together with friends and family,” Ford said. “Although this is extremely encouraging, I urge everyone to exercise caution and continue to follow public health advice, as we are not out of the woods yet.”

The release noted that the government, in partnership with health and safety associations, has released more than 100 health and safety guidance documents at to help employers in multiple sectors — including retail stores, restaurants and child care centres — keep spaces safe for workers and customers. “As they prepare to reopen,” the news release added, “employers are strongly advised to review these guidance documents and implement appropriate measures to help protect their workers and customers.”