Ontario is easing restrictions on gatherings across the province and allowing more businesses in regions that haven’t been hit as hard by COVID-19 to reopen.
The province says gatherings can go up from five to 10, while still practicing social distancing. That includes allowing visitors into your home, but meeting outside is still recommended since it’s easier to maintain social distancing.
The types of business that can reopen as part of phase 2 include:
Outdoor dine-in services at restaurants, bars and other establishments, including patios, curbside, parking lots and adjacent properties;
Select personal and personal care services with the proper health and safety measures in place, including tattoo parlours, barber shops, hair salons and beauty salons;
Shopping malls under existing restrictions, including food services reopening for take-out and outdoor dining only;
Tour and guide services, such as bike and walking, bus and boat tours, as well as tasting and tours for wineries, breweries and distilleries;
Water recreational facilities such as outdoor splash pads and wading pools, and all swimming pools;
Beach access and additional camping at Ontario Parks;
Camping at private campgrounds;
Outdoor-only recreational facilities and training for outdoor team sports, with limits to enable physical distancing;
Drive-in and drive-through venues for theatres, concerts, animal attractions and cultural appreciation, such as art installations;
Film and television production activities, with limits to enable physical distancing; and
Weddings and funerals, with limits on social gatherings to 10 people.
"We are able to make this announcement today because of the extraordinary effort of our frontline workers and every other person in the province who helped to stop the spread of this deadly virus," said Premier Ford.
"Entering stage 2 means parts of the province will see more people back on the job and an opportunity to get back together with friends and family. Although this is extremely encouraging, I urge everyone to exercise caution and continue to follow public health advice as we are not out of the woods yet."
The regions that are allowed to enter phase 2 include:
Algoma Public Health
Brant County Health Unit
Chatham-Kent Public Health
Eastern Ontario Health Unit
Grey Bruce Health Unit
Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit
Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
Huron Perth Public Health
Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health
Leeds Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
Middlesex-London Health Unit
North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit
Northwestern Health Unit
Ottawa Public Health
Peterborough Public Health
Porcupine Health Unit
Public Health Sudbury & Districts
Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services
Renfrew County and District Health Unit
Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit
Southwestern Public Health
Thunder Bay District Health Unit
Timiskaming Health Unit
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health
Ford says people from regions not ready for stage 2 are free to visit businesses in cities that are included.
“We will continue to keep a close eye on regions that will not open this Friday. And we need just a little more time,” he said.
“We will continue talking to local officials who are playing a critical role in determining what areas can open. And I am confident that the rest of the province will get to stage two, very very soon.”
Places of worship can also open at 30 per cent capacity with physical distancing measures in place.
Jessy Bains is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jessysbains.