This week, regions across the country are preparing to reopen their cities, as the COVID-19 curve in Canada is starting to flatten. While Ontario is yet to make any firm commitments to restarting the economy, discussions are already underway. In the capital, the city’s health officials are looking for the public’s opinion about reopening Ottawa, and they’re open to all suggestions!

As the city looks to begin reopening, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is calling on the public for their advice and opinions about recommencing.

In a notice on their website, health officials confirmed that they are currently “exploring how to safely reopen the city” as part of a planned, phased approach.

To help them with this, they’re looking for feedback from locals. This way, the city's “recovery plan” should reflect what the people in Ottawa need the most in the upcoming weeks and months.

"The City of Ottawa and Ottawa Public Health are looking to learn more about your thoughts, perceptions and understanding of current restrictions in place related to COVID-19," the notice explains.

From physical distancing suggestions, to advice about which businesses should reopen first, the health agency is looking for opinions on anything and everything.

“Your feedback will help us develop a recovery plan that meets the needs and expectations of our community,” OPH added.

OPH's request comes as some provinces begin a phased approach back to normality. This week, Quebec and Manitoba are preparing to reopen services and businesses, including patios, hairdressers and even schools.

While Doug Ford has confirmed that he’s unprepared to take such measures in Ontario right now, he admitted on Saturday that lockdown in the province could end “a lot sooner than expected.”

Speaking to the media on May 2, the Ontario Premier explained, "If we keep going the way we're going, we're going to get out of this a lot sooner than we thought we might be able to get out a couple of months ago.”

Last week, the provincial government released a small list of businesses and services that will be able to resume this week. It included garden centres, landscaping services and auto dealerships.

For now, no official date has been given for the next phase of Ontario’s reopening, but it seems there are good signs on the horizon.

“We had a little glimmer of hope yesterday and we will continue giving people hope in this province,” Ford said on Saturday.

Whether you think that the dentist should be reopened ASAP, or whether you think hairdressers and barbers should be an essential service, OPH wants to know! 

While returning to normality still seems a lifetime away, it’s clear there are increasingly positive signs across the province.

Maybe a drink on the patio could be closer than we think, eh?!

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