Ontario extends all emergency orders until May 19, reopens some retail stores moving with “Cautious optimism” during the pandemic

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced Wednesday, May 6, the province is extending all emergency orders that have been put in place so far until May 19, after the Victoria Day long weekend, as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

The state of emergency was first announced on March 17. Under the act, some businesses were ordered to close due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Today, Premier Doug Ford also says that Ontario will begin to relax some of the restrictions made for the COVID-19 pandemic moving with “cautious optimism”.

This week, the province will see the return of nurseries, garden centres starting Friday, hardware stores, and safety supply stores can reopen on Saturday, as long as these stores follow the same public health measures put into place at grocery stores.

People will be allowed to shop at the listed stores as long as physical distancing, contactless payment options, and sanitization measures are in place.

“We have seen in other jurisdictions that moving too fast, ignoring the advice given on this virus and even giving it an inch can set us back, so we will move cautiously,” Ford said regarding the returning businesses.

Starting Monday, retail stores with street entrances will be permitted to reopen for curbside pickup.

Construction on condominiums and apartments are also set to resume as construction on these projects will join the select few businesses that are considered essential businesses in the province.

No set dates have been announced for the restaurants in the province yet, as Ford said his hope is that they can do so “sooner than later,” but provided no benchmark on how low Ontario’s daily numbers of Covid-19 cases will have to be in order to consider reopening these establishments.

Premier Ford acknowledged challenges for curbside pickup for retail stores in urban areas. Curbside pickup with street access will be difficult to assess for cities like Toronto as the population density for areas like downtown Toronto will differ greatly in comparison to areas like Etobicoke or North York.

Ford’s concern for this stems from a social distancing failure on the part of the video game chain store EB Games, which had drawn a large line-up situation during the beginning of the pandemic.

Ford hopes that Toronto Mayor John Tory will create the proper protocols needed so that events like this won’t happen again.

COVID-19 numbers in Ontario

A 2.3 percent increase in COVID-19 cases has been reported, as Ontario sees 412 new cases as of Wednesday.

These new cases bring the total number of cases in the province to 18,722. At the same time, reported recoveries from the virus have gone past 70 percent for the first time.

According to the Ministry of Health, 57 percent of the cases recorded have been women, whereas men who have been diagnosed make up just below 42 percent of the cases. Healthcare workers take up 3,013 cases, about 16 percent of the reported cases.

The official death toll in Ontario has risen by 68, so as of right now there are a reported 1,429 deaths related to the virus.

Long term healthcare facilities and homes remain to be the areas hit hardest by the virus, as these institutions account for nearly three-quarters of Ontario’s COVID-19 related deaths and have had outbreaks reported at 223 out of 630 of Ontario’s long term healthcare facilities.

Across Canada, there are 1,450 new reported Covid-19 cases as of May 6, 2020, 7:00 p.m, bringing the nation’s total to 63,496, including 28,171 recovered and 4,232 deaths.

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