More businesses to reopen

Province announces new list of businesses that can reopen with guidelines in place

ONTARIO WILL ALLOW non-essential retail stores to open for curbside pickup next week, as the province allows for some small steps toward reopening the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Premier Doug Ford says garden centres and nurseries will also be allowed to open on Friday, and hardware stores and safety supply stores will be allowed to reopen on Saturday.

He says those stores will be expected to follow the same public health measures as grocery stores and pharmacies currently do, such as physical distancing, offering contactless payment and sanitizing surfaces.

Ontario also extended its emergency orders today, which include the continued closure of non-essential businesses, as the province reported 412 new cases of COVID-19 and 68 more deaths.

The province also renewed lower electricity rates for residential consumers, farms and small businesses to the end of the month. An initial order from March for off-peak rates to be charged all day had been set to expire this week.

The emergency orders, which were set to expire Wednesday, have now been extended for another two weeks, to May 19.

They also include a prohibition of public gatherings of more than five people, the closure of bars and restaurants except for take-out and delivery, libraries, theatres and concert venues, outdoor amenities such as playgrounds, and child care centres.

The province has separately announced that publicly funded schools will be closed until at least May 31.

Ontario’s overall declaration of a state of emergency was extended last month to May 12.

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