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Ontario is set to reopen parts of its locked down economy, crippled by the coronavirus pandemic, on May 19.
“We had to make great personal sacrifices and we did,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford during a news conference.
Ford says stores with street entrances can open on Tuesday if strict social distancing guidelines are met. A distance of 2 people per four square metres needs to be maintained.
“Retailers have been particularly hard-hit during the pandemic,” said the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), in a statement.
“Allowing them to carefully open their doors to customers again will start them down the long path to recovery.”
Shopping malls will remain closed for the time being.
Off-leash parks, vets, grooming services, and indoor/outdoor household cooking and cleaning services can also open under similar guidelines.
Indoor and outdoor sports fields for non-team sports, can reopen as long as social distancing rules are maintained and there are no spectators.
Limits on construction sites are also being lifted.
Ford says businesses won’t be forced to reopen and should only do so if they feel ready.
Restaurants and personal grooming businesses will not reopen as part of stage 1.
Ford urged Ontarians to stay vigilant to avoid a resurgence of the virus.
“We threw everything we had at this virus,” said Ford.
Ford added that he’s not putting a timeline on entering stage 2 and stage 3, but says we’ll need to see a downtrend in cases for at least a few weeks.
The second stage could allow some service industries and additional office and retail workplaces to reopen. Some larger public gatherings would be allowed, and more outdoor spaces would open.
All workplaces would reopen during the third stage, and gatherings where people follow guidelines will be permitted.
Private parks, marinas, golf courses, and animal boarding facilities can reopen on Saturday.
Ontario did not provide an update on a timeline for visiting friends and family in their homes.
Jessy Bains is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jessysbains.