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Ontario eases restrictions on essential construction and retail stores during COVID-19


May 6, 2020
By Ground Water Canada

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Toronto – The Ontario government is expanding essential construction, allowing all retail stores with a street entrance to provide curbside pickup and delivery, as well as in-store payment and purchases at garden centres, nurseries, hardware stores and safety supply stores.

Business owners should review the health and safety guidelines developed by the province and its health and safety association partners, said the Office of the Premier in a news release.

The provincial government is expanding essential construction to allow below-grade multi-unit residential construction projects such as apartments and condominiums to begin and existing above-grade projects to continue. This will help clear the way for the housing and jobs our economy will need to support economic recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.

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As early as Friday, May 8 at 12:01 a.m., garden centres and nurseries will be able to open for in-store payment and purchases, operating under the same guidelines as grocery stores and pharmacies. Hardware stores and safety supply stores will be permitted to open for in-store payment and purchases as soon as 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, May 9. On Monday, May 11, at 12:01 a.m., retail stores with a street entrance can begin offering curbside pickup and delivery, in accordance with the Ontario Ministry of Health’s Guidance Document for Essential Workplaces and occupational health and safety requirements.

Businesses must follow public health measures and should review the workplace safety guidelines, such as promoting physical distancing and frequent handwashing, sanitizing surfaces, installing physical barriers, staggering shifts, and using contactless payment options to stop the spread of COVID-19, the release said.

The Ministry of Labour, in partnership with health and safety associations, has released more than 60 sector-specific health and safety guidelines, including guidelines for curbside pickup and delivery services. Business owners should review the guidelines and consult with local public health officials to ensure they have the information they need to protect workers, customers and the general public as the province prepares for the gradual reopening of the economy.

The government’s Framework for Reopening our Province, which was released on April 27, 2020, includes guiding principles for the safe, gradual reopening of businesses, services and public spaces, and the criteria Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts are using to advise the government on the loosening of public health measures, including emergency orders.