Premier Ford says retail stores will be allowed to reopen with curbside pickup on Monday

More businesses have been given the green light to reopen in Ontario with strict physical distancing, contactless payment and sanitization measures in place.

“The trends are heading in the right direction,” Premier Doug Ford says. “When it comes to reopening our economy, I’d rather be safe than sorry.”

As early as Friday, May 8 at 12:01 a.m., garden centres and nurseries will be able to open for in-store payment and purchases, operating under the same guidelines as grocery stores and pharmacies. 

Hardware stores and safety supply stores will be permitted to open for in-store payment and purchases as soon as 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, May 9.

On Monday, May 11 at 12:01 a.m., retail stores with a street entrance can begin offering curbside pickup and delivery, in accordance with the Ministry of Health’s Guidance Document for Essential Workplaces and occupational health and safety requirements.

In addition to easing restrictions on retail, the government is also expanding essential construction to allow below-grade multi-unit residential construction projects like apartments and condominiums to begin and existing above-grade projects to continue.

Related: A rent bailout and fetching food yourself may keep local restaurants from shuttering

A rent bailout and fetching food yourself may keep local restaurants from shuttering

Ford was asked when restaurants will get the green-light? “We’re going to be there to support you, I know a lot of restaurants are hanging on by their fingernails.” Ford hinted that an announcement for more help is coming soon.

The Minister of Economic Development says restaurants should start preparing for re-opening. Vic Fedeli says restaurants should do this by understanding what the businesses needs to do to protect staff and customers.

One out of every two independent restaurants across Canada does not expect to survive if the situation doesn’t improve over the next few months.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario is now allowing licensed restaurants and bars to sell some spirits at a lower price to customers who order takeout and delivery food. 

Cassie MacKell of Low Down bar in Collingwood says now that the AGCO has allowed them to sell alcohol to-go (under strict guidelines) they have begun selling Cocktail Kit’s To-Go and they’ve been “hugely successful” so far.

Province falls short on testing again

For the second straight day, the province fell short on the number of COVID-19 tests processed. The target is 16,000 per day. Ontario’s network of labs processed 12,961 tests in the last 24 hours, a slight increase from the day before.

Premier Doug Ford sounded off Tuesday on a drop in testing numbers. Ford said some medical officers of health in Ontario “aren’t performing” when it comes to testing people for COVID-19. “We need to hold these people accountable, said Ford. “I’m not going to name them. They know who they are.”

LCBO expand store hours

The LCBO says it will begin a gradual expansion of store hours starting on May 14, just in time for the Victoria Day long weekend.

Hydro rate relief extended

Meanwhile, the Ontario government is extending all-day, off-peak electricity rates until the end of May.

Those who pay time-of-use rates will be billed at the overnight and weekend price for electricity. 

If you have a white”Yours to Discover” licence plate, you’ll be keeping it.

The Ford government said today that after thorough testing by law enforcement and other key stakeholders, the province is following their advice and will not be moving forward with the new plate for passenger vehicle use.

Premier Ford says the government “is not ready to put any more resources” towards licence plates. Ford says he will try to salvage the existing stock of plates.

more to come…