Small businesses will open with a minimum of 25 per cent capacity
Premier Doug Ford says businesses – even in lockdown areas – will be able to open their doors to a limited number of people in the next couple of weeks.
Ford told reporters Monday “the sunlight is breaking through the clouds…the (lockdown) measures are working…Together we are bending the curve.
“We’re not clear of this storm yet.”
Ford said hospitals in a number of regions are still facing “immense pressures” because of COVID-19.
“This is a critical time; we can find a way forward but we need a plan to protect the health and safety of each and every person in the province while insuring businesses can open.”
Ford adds “we can’t return to normal; not yet, not while our hospitals are still overwhelmed.”
Health Minister Christine Elliott says three health units, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health, Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health and Renfrew County, will be out of the stay at home order later this week.
The rest of the province, including Lambton, will continue to be under the order until at least Feb. 16. After that, the regions will be put on the colour-coded scale which the province had been using before the lockdown.
The Toronto region will wait another week to Feb. 22.
“This is not a reopening or return to normal, it’s an acknowledgement we’re moving forward,” says Elliott.
When the region returns to the framework, small businesses will be able to open allowing 25 to 100 per cent capacity through the doors at one time depending on what level the community is in on the provincial frame work.
In Grey – which is lockdown – supermarkets will have 50 per cent capacity and big box stores and retail will have 25 per cent. Malls will have to screen shoppers before coming into the building.
In Red, grocery stores and other stores which primarily sell food may be at 75 per cent capacity; retailers will be at 50 per cent.
There will be no restrictions on shopping when the community’s are in the green-prevent, yellow-protect or orange-restrict zones.
“We want to give people hope – to step up and be a part of the solution,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones.
The Health Minister adds things could change rapidly if the COVID-19 variants start becoming prevalent in the community
“We want to see how quickly this variant will spread…they can increase the spread exponentially,” says Elliott.