Nearly all businesses can enter Stage 3 of Ontario’s reopening plan on Friday, but a regional approach to the COVID-19 pandemic means parts of the province will not be included.
Premier Doug Ford says Stage 3 includes dine-in restaurants, bars, gyms, most personal care services, live shows, movie theatres, casinos, recreational facilities and activities, team sports and live sporting events, and tour and guide services.
Dancing at restaurants and bars, other than by performers hired by the establishment following specific requirements, will not be permitted. Singing and dancing at bars will also not be permitted because of what health minister Christine Elliott says are obvious concerns.
“But we will be following that, and at such time as it's considered safe when we don't have increases in our numbers of COVID-19 will be able to loosen them, but certainly the vaccine would help, but we're not counting on that in the next very short while,’ said Elliot during a news conference.
Business that can not reopen include amusement parks and water parks, buffet-style food services, overnight stays at camps for children, private karaoke rooms, saunas, steam rooms, bath houses, table games at casinos and gaming establishments.
Regions that will not move into the next stage include Toronto, York, Peel, Durham, Niagara, Windsor-Essex, Haldimand-Norfolk, Halton, Hamilton, and Lambton.
Ontario’s economy has been hard hit by the pandemic. Ontario added 378,000 jobs in June, but it was its first increase since the pandemic started. First quarter real GDP fell 1.9 per cent, the worst annualized decline since the fourth quarter of 2008 during the global financial crisis. FP Canada’s 2020 Financial Stress Survey, found Ontarians say money outranks personal health (25%), work (20%) and relationships (18%) as their top source of stress.
"Our success in reducing the spread of COVID-19 and getting Ontario to a place where we are ready to reopen most of the province is a testament to the hard work of business owners, individuals and families right across the province," said Ford.
"So many have stepped up and played by the rules, demonstrating that we can restart our economy safely and responsibly. Small actions can make a big difference.”
Social circles will remain at 10 across the province. Limits on gatherings, while social distancing, for regions entering Stage 3 increase to 50 people indoors, and 100 outdoors.
Beginning on July 27, child care centres across the province will be able to operate with 15 children, instead of 10.
Jessy Bains is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jessysbains.