Ontario to keep restrictions in place when stay-at-home order ends on Wednesday

Business group demands reopening of retail, salons, and restaurants

The stay-at-home order in place since April 7 in Ontario will end on Wednesday, but workplace and public health measures will not be lifted.

“We’ve seen great progress in our fight against COVID-19 in recent weeks, but now is not the time to let our guard down,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “With the Stay-At-Home order set to expire, we need to provide people with certainty so that they can continue to follow public health guidance. Doing so will help us to meet our goal of starting to gradually lift some restrictions when we enter Step One of the Roadmap when it is safe to do so.”

The stay-at-home order required residents to remain at home except for the purposes set out in the order, such as exercise, going to the grocery store or pharmacy, or accessing health care services. Those restrictions will no longer be in place as of Wednesday.

All existing measures will remain in effect provincewide, including a limit on outdoor gatherings to households only and outdoor gatherings to up to five people, maintaining a cap of 25 per cent capacity for essential retail where only certain goods are permitted to be sold, restricting non-essential retail to curbside pickup or delivery only, as well as allowing Ontario parks and campgrounds on public lands to be used for day-use only, subject to limitations.

If you own a seasonal residence, the lifting of the stay-at-home order means cottagers can head north, however, only members of the same household can be there except for a person from another household who lives alone or a caregiver.

According to the “Reopening Ontario” webpage, non-essential retail and outdoor dining at a limited capacity are expected to reopen June 14.

Three weeks later, personal care services will be allowed to reopen, and the final stage near the end of July or early August, indoor dining, indoor sports facilities, gyms and casinos will be allowed to reopen at a limited capacity.

The announcement is not going to sit well with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) which urged the Ford government to begin reopening the economy immediately when the stay-at-home order expires Wednesday.

The CFIB is asking the province to allow retailers to open at 20 per cent capacity, restaurant patios to open along with limited indoor service, hair salons and barbers by appointment and gyms by appointment.

“Tomorrow is supposed to be the day that our retailers, our restaurant patios, our gyms and our hair salons finally reopen their doors after two long months of provincewide lockdown,” the CFIB statement read.

“Instead, Ontario’s reopening plan has them remaining closed for at least another two weeks, and many for much longer. Meanwhile, COVID cases continue a strong downward trend, and estimates show vaccinations have already hit the first-dose threshold for Step 2.”

The province reported 699 new COVID infections on Tuesday, the lowest single-day total since last October.