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Province significantly expands list of businesses that can reopen

The province has announced retailers, seasonal businesses and health and community service providers who will be permitted to open or expand services Tuesday, May 19.

The government also announced additional seasonal services and activities to be permitted to open as early as Saturday May 16 – in time for the Victoria Day long weekend, as key public health indicators continue to show progress.

“During the last several weeks, the people of Ontario have been called on to make incredible sacrifices to help us stop the spread of COVID-19, including staying home from work, closing down businesses and going without a regular paycheque,” said Premier Doug Ford. “However, we are reopening even more of our businesses beginning this long weekend. We are taking a cautious, balanced approach to our economic reopening, to protect the health and safety of everyone.”

As soon as 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, May 16:
– Golf courses will be able to open, with clubhouses open only for washrooms and restaurants open only for take-out.
– Marinas, boat clubs and public boat launches may open for recreational use.
– Private parks and campgrounds may open to enable preparation for the season and to allow access for trailers and recreational vehicles whose owners have a full season contract, stationary seasonable homes that have access to both electric and water services. Access to rental camping services at a private campground or park is permissible in Stage 1 if the trailer or RV hooks up to electric and water services, and the rental period is for the full season.

– Businesses that board animals, such as stables, may allow boarders to visit, care for or ride their animal.

Business owners and service providers are to ensure workplaces are safe for staff, consumers and the public. Assuming trends in key public health indicators continue to improve, Ontario’s first stage of reopening is to begin Tuesday, May 19 and will include:

– Retail services that are not in shopping malls and have separate street-front entrances with measures in place that can enable physical distancing, such as limiting the number of customers in the store at any one time and booking appointments beforehand or on the spot.

– Seasonal businesses and recreational activities for individual or single competitors, including training and sport competitions conducted by a recognized national or provincial sport organization. This includes indoor and outdoor non-team sport competitions that can be played while maintaining physical distancing and without spectators, such as tennis, track and field and horse racing.
– Animal services, specifically pet care services, such as grooming and training, and regular veterinary appointments.
– Indoor and outdoor household services that can follow public health guidelines, such as housekeepers, cooks, cleaning and maintenance.

The province is also lifting essential workplace limits on construction; allowing certain health and medical services to resume, such as in-person counselling and some scheduled surgeries; as well as resuming professional services such as shifting Children’s Treatment Centres from virtual, to in-person.

The government and health and safety associations have released more than 90 safety guidance documents to assist employers in multiple sectors, including construction, retail, facilities maintenance and manufacturing. As new sectors of the economy begin to reopen, additional resources will be made available to help protect the safety of workers and the general public.

To support business-owners, workers and the economic recovery of the province, the government has launched a website to provide businesses with information on personal protective equipment (PPE) suppliers.

The Workplace PPE Supplier Directory has an up-to-date list of Ontario companies and business associations that are ready to supply personal protective equipment.

The Chief Medical Officer of Health will closely monitor the evolving situation to advise when certain public health restrictions, including adjustments to social gatherings can be gradually loosened or if they need to be tightened.

The province will be providing an update on school closures and child care early next week.
If you have questions about what will be open or impacts to your business or employment, call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.


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  1. Dennis Fox says:

    To be fair, I did drive through downtown on Sunday – a much different feeling. The few people I saw walking, were just fine. If reopening is going to be successful, there still needs to be some kind of reminder and enforcement of the rules. The last thing anyone wants is a replay of this time again, come August or September.

  2. Mark says:

    Picton’s weekend was very good. A few visitors and locals out for a walk but overall very respectful of physical space. I think it went remarkably well.

  3. Beverlee Kay says:

    My views are in unison with Dennis’ comment after noticing the same atmosphere this week-end. Social distancing is not evident among the large crowds in downtown Picton.

    Spring is in the air and the people are out, without a concern for spreading the virus. Boats are being launched, parks are re-opening as cars and loud motorcycles speed up and down Bridge Street and County Rd. 49.

    This laissez-faire attitude breeds the potential for greater harm. We need to show more care and respect for one another by realizing we are not out of the woods with this virus and won’t be anytime soon.

    Police patrols would definitely establish a sense of needed order to slow things down in our community.

  4. Dennis Fox says:

    This attempt to re-open is a fair action to take, PROVIDED that people are going to show some common sense – I have my doubts!

    Today, I decided to go for a walk in downtown Picton – the first time in a couple of months! I won’t be trying that again soon, until there is some signs of organization for pedestrian traffic.

    On two different occasions, with two different groups of people, I was confronted with a large group of people (8-12) all walking together on the sidewalk – leaving no room for people to pass and certainly no room for social distancing. I was forced out onto the road to go around them – they didn’t give a toss about the inconvenience they created nor about the virus they could be potentially spreading. It was obvious that they were tourists doing their thing – without any regard for those around them.

    If our Province and Municipality deems it safe for outside visitors, then we need the police and by-law people in places like downtown to protect all involved at this time. I will not be shopping downtown until I feel it is safe to do so – and right now it is not safe.

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