TORONTO — Wellington County will enter stage 2 of Ontario’s reopening plan on Friday (June 12).
The province announced on June 8 that the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) region is one of 24 across Ontario that will enter the second stage, which includes the reopening of restaurants and bars with outdoor dine-in services, barber shops and hair salons, shopping malls, splash pads and pools, and private campgrounds, among others.
The move to stage 2 comes about four weeks after the province entered the first stage of reopening the economy on May 16, a full two months after the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“This is a positive step for our region,” stated Dr. Nicola Mercer, WDGPH’s Medical Officer of Health, in a June 8 press release.
“Cautiously reopening more amenities and businesses means positive economic and physical health benefits for our citizens; both factors in good health.”
The province also announced that as of June 12 the limit on social gatherings will be raised from five to 10 people – regardless of whether a region has moved to stage 2 – and all places of worship in Ontario can open with physical distancing in place and attendance limited to 30 per cent or less of the building capacity.
“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 Doug 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.”
Mercer echoed that sentiment, noting local residents must remain “diligent” with frequent hand washing, wearing masks and practicing physical distancing.
“Following these steps will help keep you and your family safe, but also protect your friends and neighbours,” stated Mercer.
“The willingness of each of us to do our part will be a key factor in whether we take a step forward or backward in this pandemic.”
With more people returning to work, they will need access to services they regularly rely on, officials note, so the province will soon release more details about child care, summer camps, public transit and more.
“Our regional approach recognizes that different regions in the province are experiencing COVID-19 differently and can safely and gradually ease restrictions and reopen local businesses,” stated deputy premier and health minister Christine Elliott.
“We will continue to monitor any shifts in the spread and take decisive action to contain any outbreaks.”
The few municipalities not yet permitted to enter Stage 2, including the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, will be regularly monitored and the province will provide weekly updates on whether they can move into Stage 2.
Businesses and services permitted to reopen – with proper health and safety measures in place – in Stage 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, including tattoo parlours, barber shops, hair salons and beauty salons;
- shopping malls (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;
- outdoor splash pads and swimming pools;
- beach access and additional camping at Ontario Parks;
- camping at private campgrounds;
- outdoor-only recreational facilities and training for outdoor team sports;
- 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; and
- weddings and funerals, with limits on gatherings to 10 people.
For more information, including a complete list of the regions proceeding to Stage 2, visit the province’s website.