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Ontario begins first stage of economic reopening plan

Citynews 1130 Vancouver

Last Updated May 19, 2020 at 11:16 am PDT

A boarded-up H&M clothing store at the Toronto Eaton Centre in April 2020. Like most retail stores, it was forced to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Tony Fera/CityNews)
Summary

"Open for Business" signs are popping up in Ontario for the first time in months

Provincial government stresses businesses still have to comply with public health guidelines

Many Ontario retailers are also making face masks mandatory

VANCOUVER (NEWS 113) — B.C. isn’t the only province that’s beginning to open up today.

“Open for Business” signs are popping up in Ontario for the first time in months as the province is starting the first stage of its economic reopening.

But the provincial government stresses those businesses still have to comply with public health guidelines such as physical distancing as they welcome customers.

The biggest of the changes allows retailers with street entrances to reopen to customers for the first time in months.

Other retail businesses given the green light include sports centres, car dealerships, dog groomers, house cleaners, as well as all construction and some health and medical services.

Premier Doug Ford has said businesses should only open if they are ready. He emphasized the province’s reopening plan is dependant on the activity of the virus.

Many Ontario retailers are also making face masks mandatory.

Some Ontario business owners have expressed relief and excitement at the prospect of reopening, while others expressed trepidation, that it’s too early to do so safely.

The province ordered the closure of all businesses deemed non-essential in mid-March and recently allowed those with street entrances to offer curbside pickup.

Ontario reported 304 more cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the provincial total to 22,957.

There have been 1,904 deaths related to the virus so far, including 23 that were reported Monday.

B.C. starts the first phase of its restart plan on Tuesday, as well.