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Ontario Officially Enters Stage 1 of Reopening and Announces that Schools will Remain Closed

Published on
May 19, 2020

Today, Ontario officially entered the first stage of its Framework for Reopening the Province. During this initial phase, certain businesses are allowed to reopen with measures in place to ensure physical distancing, including retail services that have street-front entrances and are not in shopping malls.

At the same time, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, has extended all emergency orders until May 29, 2020. These emergency orders include the closure of bars and restaurants with the exception of takeout and delivery, restrictions on social gatherings of more than five people, staff deployment measures for health care workers including those working in long-term care homes and other congregate care settings like retirement homes and women’s shelters.

The government is permitting the reopening of some outdoor recreational amenities as part of this initial stage. Theses amenities include outdoor sports facilities and multi-use fields, off-leash dog areas, and outdoor picnic sites, benches and shelters in parks and recreational areas.

The government has also amended the emergency order related to gatherings to allow drive-in religious gatherings, under certain conditions. The conditions include: keeping vehicles two meters or more apart, only members of the same household can be in one vehicle, people will not be able to leave their vehicles and no more than five people can conduct the service at one time from outside a motor vehicle and they must stay at least two metres apart.

A full list of the emergency orders can be found here.

Premier Ford announced that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all public and private schools will remain closed for the rest of this school year. This is being done to protect the health and safety of students. The government is planning for the reopening of schools and will announce a plan to strengthen learning and safety protocols for the 2020-21 school year.

Licensed child care centres and EarlyON programs will also remain closed through Stage 1. A gradual reopening of child care centres is expected to begin when the province is ready to enter Stage 2. Emergency child care will continue to operate for those that are eligible.

Summer day camps, both indoor and outdoor, will be permitted to operate in July and August with strict health and safety guidelines, assuming trends in key public health indicators continue to improve. However, overnight camps will not be permitted to operate this summer.

The province also plans to offer an expanded seven-point summer learning plan to provide Ontario students the opportunity to continue learning over the summer.

Earlier today, Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care also announced an Independent Commission into Long-Term Care will begin in September.


Consult the Sussex COVID-19 Guide for information on supports made available across the Federal, Provincial and Municipal Governments.

Let Sussex help connect you with the right people in government to help your organization get through these extraordinary times and navigate COVID-19 support programs.

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