Restaurants, hair salons and libraries set to reopen in most of Ontario
Ontarians will soon regain a bit of normality, as the provincial government announced Stage 2 of its economic reopening plan to bring back businesses closed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the new phase, restaurants, shopping malls, hair salons, libraries and many more services will begin to reopen starting Friday, June 12, throughout most of the province.
Additionally, the limit on social gatherings has increased to 10 people from the previous limit of five.
“We need to get the economy going, and to do this as quickly as possible,” Premier of Ontario Doug Ford said in his daily COVID-19 press conference on June 8.
While most of the province will be seeing many of its businesses reopening, the City of Toronto, the GTA and Niagara Region will not be transitioning into Stage 2 because of the higher rates of COVID-19.
The Haldimand-Norfolk Public Health Unit is the only unit outside the GTHA remaining in Phase 1. The health unit has recently reported outbreaks among migrant agricultural workers at two farms in the region.
The status of the areas staying in Stage 1 will be updated every Monday based on Public Health criteria and consultations with local health officers.
“We will continue to keep a close eye on regions that will not open this Friday, and we need just a little more time,” Ford said. “I am confident that the rest of the province will get to Stage 2 very, very soon.”
The province also announced earlier today that childcare centres would also be allowed to reopen across the entire province starting on June 12.
Here are the details of Ontario’s Stage 2 reopening and which businesses and services are included:
The reopening of the economy is a welcome development for many, including Ian Lee, an associate professor of the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University.
However, Lee believes the reopening hasn’t come soon enough and the impact on Ontario’s economy will affect the generations to come.
“The deficit of the government of Ontario is going to be much larger than before,” Lee said in a phone interview with Humber News. “The cost of the intervention is going to be staggering, and it’s going to last for years and years.
“Of course, we had to do it, but that doesn’t make the negative consequences go away,” he said.
Lee said while the provinces’ regional approach is well-intentioned, he believes the GTA and other areas should be allowed to go forward with the rest of the province.
He believes a delay in reopening Toronto can be even more harmful to the economy, as it’s the economic engine with the most jobs in the province.
“Even in the GTA, [the province] could still be opening low-risk activities like retail,” he said. “They could be opening up the rest of the economy with prudent social distancing measures in place.
“The longer [the province] is closed, the more businesses will fail, and the greater the hardcore, long-term unemployment problem we’re going to have, and that’s not a good thing,” Lee said.
As the province works to open the rest of the economy in the coming weeks, Lee is concerned about how long the reopening will take and how it will affect the small businesses that are struggling to stay open.