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May 15, 2020

Ontario Expands List of Businesses Permitted to Reopen

Authors Brandin O'Connor and Domenica Moran

On May 14, 2020, as part of the first stage of Ontario’s framework to reopen the economy, the Ontario Government announced more retailers, seasonal businesses and recreational services will be permitted to open or expand their services.

On Saturday May 16, 2020 at 12:01 am:

  • Golf courses can open, but clubhouses will only be open for washrooms and restaurants will only be open for take-out.
  • Marinas, boat clubs and public boat launches can open for recreational use.
  • Private parks and campgrounds can open to allow preparation for the season and grant access for trailers and recreational vehicles whose owners have a full season contract.
  • Businesses that board animals, such as stables, may allow boarders to visit, care for or ride their animal.


So long as the general trend of the province’s health continues to improve, the first phase of reopening the economy will begin on Tuesday May 19, 2020 at 12:01 am and will include:

  • Retail stores with separate street entrances that are not located in shopping malls can open with strict physical distancing measures in place, such as by limiting the number of customers in the store at any one time or open by appointment only.
  • Outdoor recreational sport centres, and indoor and outdoor non-team sport competitions that can be played under physical distancing measures such as cycling, golf driving ranges, horse racing, track and field, rowing, gymnastics and figure skating, may resume without spectators.
  • Pet care services, such as grooming and training, and regular veterinary appointments, by appointment only.
  • Indoor and outdoor household services that can follow public health guidelines, such as housekeepers, cooks, cleaning and maintenance.
  • All construction can resume and essential workplace limits have been lifted.
  • Libraries may conduct business via curbside pickup.
  • So long as pre-specific conditions can be met, certain health and medical services can resume, such as:
    • in-person counselling;
    • in-person services, in addition to virtual services, delivered by health professionals; and,
    • scheduled surgeries.

This stage of reopening does not permit restaurants to reopen, nor does it raise the number of people who can gather in any place beyond five (5).  Further, all personal care services, such as barber shops and hair salons, as well as all public pools, will remain closed until further notice.  

The full detailed list of stage 1 openings can be viewed here.

More than 90 workplace safety guidelines have been published by Ontario and its health and safety associations, which we previously discussed on our blog here.  Businesses must refer to these guidelines to ensure they are ready to safely resume their operations. 

The province has also launched a website to provide businesses with information on personal protective equipment (PPE) suppliers.  The Workplace PPE Supplier Directory contains an up-to-date list of Ontario companies and businesses that are ready to supply PPE.  In light of the high demand for PPE for front-line workers, businesses are encouraged to access only the PPE they need to keep their employees and customers safe.

Our firm will continue to provide you with updates as the Ontario Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic evolves.

 The foregoing is for informational purposes only and should in no way be relied upon as legal advice. For legal advice tailored to your circumstances and business, please contact any of SOM LLP’s lawyers by email or telephone.

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