It looks like Ontarians will continue to be in lockdown until the end of the month. The provincial government announced on Tuesday that they would be extending all Ontario emergency orders until May 29, 2020. The decision, which was made in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, will ensure that social distancing restrictions remain in place.

According to the press release, the extension of these emergency orders will include the closure of bars and restaurants. 

The government also announced that under these orders it is still mandatory to keep social gatherings limited to a maximum of five people. 

Playgrounds, fitness equipment, public swimming pools, splash pads, and other outdoor water facilities will also remain closed.

Under these emergency orders, social distancing bylaws and their enforcement will remain in place. 

The news of the extension comes as Ontario officially launches the first phase of its framework to reopen the province's economy gradually.

The government is now allowing outdoor recreational amenities such as sports facilities, picnic sites, and off-leash dog areas to reopen to the public.

Religious drive-in gatherings can also take place, under certain safety conditions. 

"Although we are entering the first stage of our framework to reopen the economy, it's critical that we continue to do so in a safe and responsible manner," said Premier Doug Ford in the press release. 

"The people of Ontario have been doing a fantastic job to help flatten the curve and stop the spread of this terrible virus. With warmer weather beginning, individuals and families will now be able to enjoy many outdoor amenities, but everyone must continue to maintain physical distancing from those outside of their household," he added.

As the province continues to slowly reopen, the government is also cautioning residents to continue to respect social distancing while visiting reopened outdoor spaces.

"While reopening parks and other outdoor spaces is important for our physical and mental health, we're encouraging people to be responsible by keeping a safe distance of at least two metres from members outside of their household,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

A number of Ontario universities announced last week that they would be moving their fall semesters online due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

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