COVID-19
Accessibility

Premier Doug Ford announced that the province will continue to move forward with the gradual reopening of additional retail businesses and allowing for additional construction, giving a hint of optimism that the pace of business resumption in Ontario is picking up.

The Ontario government is allowing certain businesses to reopen for in-store purchases over the coming days:

        • Nurseries and garden centres were just allowed to open for curbside on Monday May 4, and will now be allowed to open for in-store purchases as of Friday May 8, 2020.
        • Hardware stores and safety supply stores, which have been restricted to curbside purchases since April 4th, 2020, will be allowed to re-open for in-store purchasing effective May 9, 2020.

The more surprising announcement today was that after almost two months of full shut down, other types of retail stores with street-level access will be allowed to reopen for curbside purchase pick-up beginning on Monday, May 11.

It is important to note that the same workplace guidelines for grocery stores will apply to all retail stores.

The government is also expanding essential construction to allow:

        • Demolition work related to essential construction projects and multi-unit residential projects such as apartment and condo buildings to proceed;
        • Below-grade construction work on new residential projects to begin; and,
        • Above-grade work on existing residential projects to continue.

You can read the government’s news release here.

These measures are supported by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), who stated that they “represent an important step towards levelling the playing field between small businesses and big box stores that have been allowed to fully operate because they sell groceries”. Read CFIB’s full statement here.

Earlier in the day, the government announced that the Electricity Rate Relief Program for families, farms and small businesses is being extended until May 31, 2020. The government has also extended all emergency orders that have been put in place to-date under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until May 19, 2020. You can read the government’s news release here.