Ontario’s Restaurants, Bars, Pools, Playgrounds To Stay Closed Until May 29th, Church Drive-ins Allowed

Tuesday May 19th, 2020

Posted at 10:42am

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The Ontario Government is extending emergency orders to keep certain businesses such as bars and restaurants closed until almost the end of the month.  Officials made the announcement Tuesday morning.

The government says the emergency orders currently in force will be extended until May 29th.  They say this includes the continued closure of bars and restaurants except for takeout and delivery, restrictions on social gatherings of more than five people, and staff redeployment rules for long-term care homes and congregate settings like retirement homes and women’s shelters.

The announcement to extend emergency orders comes as the province enters stage one of reopening, which permits the reopening of some outdoor recreational amenities, including outdoor sports facilities and multi-use fields, off-leash dog areas, and outdoor picnic sites, benches and shelters in parks and recreational areas.

But officials say outdoor playgrounds, play structures and equipment, fitness equipment, public swimming pools, splash pads and similar outdoor water facilities need to remain closed until later stages of the reopening plan.

“Although we are entering the first stage of our framework to reopen the economy, it’s critical that we continue to do so in a safe and responsible manner,” said Premier Ford. “The people of Ontario have been doing a fantastic job to help flatten the curve and stop the spread of this terrible virus. With warmer weather beginning, individuals and families will now be able to enjoy many outdoor amenities, but everyone must continue to maintain physical distancing from those outside of their household.”

Provincial officials say it’s still critical to reduce exposure to the virus and steps such as such as maintaining physical, washing hands regularly, and staying home if feeling unwell, are still needed.

“It’s never been more important for people to continue following the public health measures and advice we’ve laid out, so we don’t undo the tremendous progress we’ve made to contain COVID-19,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “While reopening parks and other outdoor spaces is important for our physical and mental health, we’re encouraging people to be responsible by keeping a safe distance of at least two metres from members outside of their household.”

The government also announced an exemption to the emergency orders that will allow drive-in religious gatherings under certain conditions such as keeping vehicles two metres or more apart, restricting vehicles to only members of the same household, not allowing people to leave their vehicles, and a limit on no more than five people conducting the service at one time from outside a vehicle, while two metres apart.

“Our government recognizes the importance that Ontarians place on participating in religious services,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “We continue to take a measured approach to reopening our province and this exemption is another important step forward in that process.”

The government says the emergency orders being extended include:

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