On Friday, premier Doug Ford confirmed that our measures to curb COVID-19 in Ontario have led to positive outcomes. In a press conference, Ford stated that a small number of businesses will be able to open on May 4, as long as they follow proper safety protocol. The list of businesses includes gardens centres, landscaping services as well as auto dealerships.
The move, which comes with its own set of guidelines, marks a big step forward for the province’s economy which has been shut down for weeks.
According to a press release from the government, a handful of businesses can open their doors on Monday, yet some restrictions will still apply.
Garden centres and nurseries will be allowed to reopen, but only if they can offer curbside pickup and delivery options.
Lawncare and landscaping operations will be allowed to resume alongside additional essential construction projects which include schools, municipal projects, and residential developments.
Auto dealerships will also be able to reopen, but by appointment only. Automatic and touchless carwashes have been given the green light as well.
Ford mentioned that golf courses and marinas can prepare to open but are still unable to fully resume operations.
"We are allowing certain businesses to reopen under strict guidelines because we are confident they can operate safely and adapt to the current environment," said Ford in the same news release.
"While further reductions in the spread are needed before we can begin reopening the province, we have the right framework and the right workplace guidelines in place to do so gradually and safely."
Ford provided additional good news on Thursday, stating that the government is “getting close” to re-opening Ontario's economy.
Officials had previously released a plan on April 27, outlining the steps that will be taken to open things back up.
While there is still a long way to go before Ontarians can return to normal life, Friday's announcement is a small step in that direction.
This week, the province reported a somewhat consistent decline in the number of new cases of COVID-19. In fact, 65% of the province's total cases have now recovered.
On Wednesday, the province reported the lowest number of new cases that they have seen in over three weeks.
However, health officials say that despite the positive trends, now is not the time to ease up on physical distancing.
This is especially important as it starts to get warmer outside and the temptation to go out and socialize intensifies.
“On a weekend where there is good weather, I know it is very hard for people to stay inside,” said Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams.
"Some people think since you're outdoors, you can have a crowd of 10 or 15 people gathered together," he explained.
"The evidence does not support that. That means small groups, fewer than five, a family unit."
Plus, police in Toronto will continue to be out in full force at popular parks and beaches, making sure everyone's following the rules and issuing fines to the ones that don't.