What Can and Can’t Be Done in Ontario Starting Friday

What marvels await us as of Friday, as most of Ontario enters into the first phase of its reopening plan?

Larger outdoor gatherings, patio dining and limited non-essential retail shopping are the big changes. But Phase 1 also allows for outdoor religious services, drive-in theatres and day camps for kids.

Can I have friends over for a backyard gathering?

Yes. Phase 1 means you can have up to 10 people. 

Can I eat out at a restaurant?

You can eat on a restaurant patio with up to a maximum of three other people per table. Indoor dining at restaurants is not allowed until Phase 3.

Can I go shopping?

Yes, with restrictions. Non-essential retail will resume at 15 percent capacity.

Essential retail including big box and discount stores continues at 25 percent capacity, but starting Friday, those stores can sell all their goods. No more police tape across coloured pencils and Elmer’s glue.

Retail stores in malls remain closed unless the stores have a street-facing entrance.

You still need to wear a mask inside any store, with a few limited exceptions.

Can I get my hair cut?

No. Phase 1 still does not allow “personal care services.” That means you still can’t get your hair cut or coloured, nor can you get your eyebrows or underarms waxed or threaded. Those services will have to wait until Phase 2 of the reopening plan, and then only by appointment.

Can I go camping?

Yes, Ontario Parks and all private campgrounds are open as of Friday.

As of Friday, you can rent a cottage or cabin in Ontario. There are still limitations on crossing provincial borders, however.

Getaways to the cottage OK?

Short-term rentals including Airbnbs, cottage and cabin rentals are allowed as of Friday.

There are no restrictions on travel within Ontario but remember: you can’t share accommodation with another family when you get to your destination unless it’s with a person who lives alone.

If you are sick, even with mild symptoms, you shouldn’t head to Sandbanks or anywhere else. If you do travel within Ontario, try to bring enough supplies so you don’t have to shop.

What if my cottage or favourite golf course is in Quebec?

According to the provincial website, “Ontario’s chief medical officer of health strongly advises that individuals and families only travel out of the province if it is essential.”

Travel from Manitoba or Quebec into Ontario is restricted until at least June 16 and may be extended. There are lots of exceptions, including preventing property damage.

The Quebec Government has its own rules restricting people from Ontario but allows for an exception for people who own cottages in Quebec and who are responsible for its maintenance.

There are no exceptions for people who are vaccinated.

Can I go to the gym?

No, indoor gym activities aren’t permitted in Phase 1. You can join an outdoor fitness class or work with a personal trainer outdoors, to a maximum of 10 participants, while keeping a three-metre distance.

Can I play team sports such as baseball, soccer or cricket?

No, there are no team games or practices allowed. You are allowed to train with up to 10 people, again keeping a three-metre distance.

What outdoor activities are allowed?

As of Friday, you can use outdoor pools, wading pools and water slides, but keep a two-metre distance.

Horse racing and motor racetracks can reopen as of Friday, but without spectators. Outdoor zoos, historic sites and botanical gardens can reopen with capacity limited to 15 percent.

Drive-in movie theatres can reopen as of Friday. The Drive-In Experience in the parking lot of RCGT Park is ready, as are the Skylight Drive-In and Port Elmsley Drive-In.

Recreational boating is allowed but, only members of a single household can be aboard.

Since May 22, you’ve been allowed to use splash pads, golf courses, tennis courts, skateboarding parks, sports fields, BMX and skate parks, shooting and archery ranges, with restrictions.

Can I go to church, temple or mosque?

Yes, but only up to 15 percent capacity of the indoor space. This means that in Phase 1, indoor weddings, funerals and other religious rites and ceremonies can now exceed the 10-person maximum, up to 15 percent capacity.

Outdoor religious ceremonies are allowed, but people must be able to maintain a two-metre distance.

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