Today, Premier Ford announced that starting this Friday, June 12, the Province will loosen Covid-19 restrictions. Social gatherings of 10 are now permitted instead of 5 and now allowed to open will be Churches (subject to limits) restaurants (outdoor patios only), hair salons (subject to limits), swimming pools and more (details below). But this does not apply to all of Ontario; a notable exception is the GTA plus a few other locations. The HKPR District Health Unit which includes Cobourg is included in the loosened rules. In all cases physical distancing apply. This is in line with the Province’s plan to move to Stage 2 on a regional basis (see link below for a description of Stage 2). As we’ve discovered, the Town will probably follow along but will be able to agree or not agree with specifics.
What’s changing in all Regions?
- Limit on social gatherings goes from five to 10
- All places of worship in Ontario will also be permitted to open with physical distancing in place and attendance limited to no more than 30 per cent of the building capacity to ensure the safety of worshippers.
What will be allowed in our Region?
With proper health and safety measures in place:
- Outdoor dine-in services at restaurants, bars and other establishments, including patios, curbside, parking lots and adjacent properties;
- Select personal and personal care services with the proper health and safety measures in place, including tattoo parlours, barber shops, hair salons and beauty salons;
- Shopping malls under existing restrictions, including food services reopening for take-out and outdoor dining only;
- Tour and guide services, such as bike and walking, bus and boat tours, as well as tasting and tours for wineries, breweries and distilleries;
- Water recreational facilities such as outdoor splash pads and wading pools, and all swimming pools;
- Beach access and additional camping at Ontario Parks;
- Camping at private campgrounds;
- Outdoor-only recreational facilities and training for outdoor team sports, with limits to enable physical distancing;
- Drive-in and drive-through venues for theatres, concerts, animal attractions and cultural appreciation, such as art installations;
- Film and television production activities, with limits to enable physical distancing; and
- Weddings and funerals, with limits on social gatherings to 10 people.
At tonight’s Council meeting, Council will be asked to make decisions on some of these items.
What rules will apply?
It depends on the service but the rules for Personal Care services such as Hair Dressers are:
- Patrons wear face coverings at all times.
- Workers wear face coverings and other appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including gloves.
- Personal care services must take measures to enable physical distancing between patrons, such as limiting the number of people who may be in the business at any one time.
- Businesses should also consider operating by appointment and/or recording each patron’s name and contact information for the purpose of contact tracing.
- Restrictions include:
- Prohibiting services that tend to a customer’s face, such as facials, facial hair grooming, eyebrow grooming and makeup, as well as oxygen bars.
- Steam rooms, saunas and bath houses must remain closed.
- Baths, hot tubs, floating pools and sensory deprivation pods are closed except for therapeutic purposes prescribed by or administered by a regulated health professional. Change rooms and showers for water amenities will be available to the public if operators have the ability to adequately sanitize and disinfect the facilities.
- For clarity, a business can open to offer other permitted services even if a restricted activity is its primary service (e.g., a facial salon can open to provide other services).
In addition, there is guidance provided:
- Screening of customers and staff for symptoms and risk factors
- Requiring all customers to book an appointment and prohibiting walk-in customers
- Increasing cleaning and disinfecting or sterilizing instruments, including scissors, hair clippers, nail files, and other equipment between clients
- Assigning each worker a unique set of tools for their own use, and if not possible, limiting the number of people sharing equipment or tools
- Getting tested if workers are worried they have or have been exposed to COVID-19
See the “Details of Stage 2” below for other services allowed, notably restaurants providing patio service, some stores in malls (but not theatres) and swimming pools. These rules are similar to the above with social distancing required or failing that, using masks. Some activities are still prohibited.
Although access to camping, beaches and parks will be loosened, this only applies to Provincial Parks and beaches.
Notably still closed are theatres, meeting halls, indoor dining, food courts and arenas.
I’d guess there is going to be a big education campaign. Our expanded by-Law enforcement staff plus Cobourg Police are going to be busier than ever.
- Announcement by Premier Ford
- List of regions that can move to stage 2 – with map
- Details of Stage 2 – More details on all permitted activities and the associated rules.