Queen’s Park declares Ontario’s ‘Stage 2’ COVID-19 reopening will commence this Friday, June 12

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ONTARIO – The provincial government has moved to enact ‘Stage 2’ of its reopening plan in most public health districts of Ontario, including Public Health Sudbury and Districts, allowing numerous businesses, services and community spaces to reopen their doors effective this Friday, June 12 at 12:01 am.

The types of businesses allowed to reopen in this phase include hairdressers, restaurants, film and television production and provincial parks, provided all of those locations abide by strict public health requirements already in place.

All businesses, organizations and public services that are allowed to open or grow their offerings under Stage 2 regulations should consult workplace health and safety guidance available at Ontario.ca/COVIDsafety. More than 100 documents are published at that link.

“Protections for vulnerable people must remain a top priority throughout the next stages of reopening,” reads the report announcing the details of Stage 2.

Across the province, limits on social gatherings are being doubled from five to 10 but physical distancing requirements of two metres still apply. Of note, all regions in Ontario, even if they have not been invited to join Stage 2, are allowed to gather in groups of 10.

Although many types of businesses are reopening, the Stage 2 explainer document states that people are encouraged to work from home as much as possible in order to limit potential virus spread.

Child care centres will begin to slowly expand beyond the strict emergency care-only models toward resuming regular child care, keeping strictly to public health measures. 

Places of worship will be allowed to reopen at 30 percent of building capacity if physical distancing measures are maintained. Provincial guidance will be offered to worship leaders and staff.

Personal care services such as hair services, beauty salons and shops, hair removal, diet and weight control centres, tattoos and piercing services, day spas and tanning salons can now reopen under strict controls. Patrons and employees should wear face coverings and other appropriate PPE at all times if physical distancing is impossible.

Continuing bans apply to any services on a customer’s face, hot spaces like saunas or steam rooms and all baths or water-based services unless prescribed by a health professional.

Personal services such as house sitting, personal training outside of gyms, personal shoppers and wedding chapels can open with health and safety measures in place.

Restaurants and bars are allowed to open for dining in outdoor spaces only, though indoor areas are accessible for washrooms and payment. Eateries are also allowed to temporarily expand licenced patio spaces provided they get the required approvals and follow strict criteria.

Shopping centres, malls and markets are being allowed to reopen with occupancy limits, sanitization, walking patterns and other safety measures in place.

Photography studios and services from portraiture to aerial operations are allowed to reopen. Tour and guide services such as fishing excursions, tastings and tours at breweries, trail rides and sightseeing tours in cars and boats can reopen under the guidelines, as long as all rental equipment is sanitized between use. Tours of food and beverage production areas are green-lit.

Indoor and outdoor pools, outdoor splash pads and wading pools can reopen, but not attractions like water parks, wave pools and water slides. Change rooms for these spaces can open only if they can be sanitized between use.

Aquatic fitness classes may continue within physical distancing rules, such as only fellow household members being allowed to physically touch other swimmers.

Outdoor rec facilities such as paintball, mini-golf, archery and go-karts will be allowed to reopen, though locker rooms, showers and clubhouses are closed unless they are used for washroom access. Rented equipment must be sanitized between use; if this is impossible, those facilities may not reopen.

Outdoor playgrounds and play structures are still closed, including outdoor fitness equipment. Indoor rec facilities are closed except for driving ranges and rod and gun clubs.

Campgrounds can reopen for all types of camping, though gathering and distancing limits still apply. Beaches at said parks will also open with capacity limits in place.

Outdoor team sports can resume in practices only—no scrimmages or games. No locker rooms, showers or change rooms may open and clubhouses may only be used for equipment management, washrooms or emergency access.

At drive-in or drive-through operations, all individuals must remain in their cars except for emergency situations or washroom access.

Weddings, funerals and similar gatherings can take place in locations that don’t have restrictions, as long as social gathering and distancing limits are enforced.

Libraries can reopen with limited services such as computer access and book pick-up and drop-off. Patrons cannot touch shelf materials and significant disinfection policies are required.

Indoor rec activities are cancelled at community centres but those spaces can be used for other programs such as counselling or education.

Museums, galleries and outdoor heritage spaces provided interactive or high-contact exhibits are closed, as well as conference centres.

Non-essential gatherings of all sizes are still strongly discouraged, but some small outdoor events may be permitted following size restrictions and public health measures. Large outdoor events remain outlawed.

All businesses are encouraged to operate on an appointment basis to limit the number of people present at any given time, as well as gathering the names and contact information of everyone they serve to aid in contact tracing should an outbreak flare up.

Patrons should be screened for symptoms and risk factors before entering a facility, increased sterilization should be implemented and appropriate PPE should be worn in addition to frequent hand-washing.

Ontario’s reopening plan is divided into three stages of providing targeted support, a gradual and measured reopening and finally long-term economic recovery.

At the start of every week, Ontario will offer a re-assessment of the regions and determine whether or not they will be able to enter Stage 2 by the end of that week. The report does not specify whether or not regions will be able to regress back to Stage 1 if regional conditions deteriorate.

Full details of Stage 2 of Ontario’s reopening framework can be found at Ontario.ca/reopen. Any business or organization seeking clarification on their abilities or requirements in this phase should call Ontario’s Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.