Ontario businesses are slowly starting to reopen, though business is not as usual. The green light for many businesses to open their doors also means a change in how things are done. The gradual reopening of business and services is part of the Ontario government’s three phase plan, which currently is in its first phase.
It’s still a long way off until businesses can welcome customers to freely browse in their stores. As of May 11, any retail store with a street-front entrance is allowed to reopen for curbside pickup and delivery. Despite the go-ahead, many stores across the province, from big name retailers to mom-and-pop stores, remain shuttered. Malls also remain closed, though any store within the mall that is attached to a parking lot can reopen.
As of May 9, garden centres, safety supply shops, hardware stores and car retailers were granted permission to reopen. The latter can only allow customers into the display area by appointment.
Some construction projects can get started, including work being done on below-grade, multi-unit residences such as apartments and condos. Above-grade projects that were underway prior to the emergency orders are allowed to continue.
Day-use of 500 of the province’s parks and conservation areas is being permitted. The other 115 recreational spaces are expected to reopen at a similar capacity by the end of this week.
Training facilities that are run by the Canadian Football League, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, National Basketball Association and National Hockey League have reopened as of May 8, but only under strict conditions.
What’s staying open?
Essential services like gas stations, car washes, laundromats, financial services, supermarkets, public transit, drugstores and the liquor store will continue to remain open.
Many businesses are offering measured steps to decrease the spread of the virus. These include hand washing stations at entrances, and arrows along the floors of the aisles to discourage overcrowding.
On May 14, the LCBO stores will extend hours from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m Tuesday through Saturday. Sundays will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Many cannabis stores around the province remain open for customers to pre-order online and pick up at the store.
What remains closed?
Most doctors and specialists offices remain closed for in-person appointments. Some in-person services, like allergy shots, are being scheduled rather than administered on a drop-in basis.
The Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario is recommending that all non-emergency services be postponed.
Hair salons, spas, gyms and places of worship remain closed.