Canada

Doug Ford's latest coronavirus update: Ontario will phase in its second stage of re-opening [Full transcript]

The Ontario premier announced a long list of re-openings starting June 12 across much of the province, including places of worships, bar and restaurant patios and hair salons. He also announced a ban on commercial evictions.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced the next stage of Ontario’s reopening, set for June 12 across much of the province. These were his full remarks on June 8.

I know we’re all eager to get things back to normal. And no one wants to get the economy going and get people back to work more than I do. And that means having a responsible plan. That means taking the best scientific advice and working together with our partners. It means recognizing that the situation is different in different parts of Ontario. It means moving cautiously but decisively. And most importantly, it means doing everything necessary to keep people safe as we reopen.

And today, we’re taking the next step. It starts this Friday, June 12 at 12:01 a.m., with increasing the limits on social gatherings from five to 10 people. I know that staying apart from our friends and loved ones has been one of the hardest parts of the last few months and hopefully today’s announcement will bring some relief. I also know that for so many of us, the restrictions around places of worship have been extremely hard. During these uncertain times our faith has never been more important. That’s why I’ve asked that places of worship across the province be able to reopen as of June 12 at 12:01 a.m. at 30 per cent building capacity.

These are important steps to getting life back to normal, but we also need to get people back to work. We need to get the economy going, and to do this as quickly as possible. We’re moving forward with a regional approach and we’re moving forward with an approach that lets us make decisions for specific parts of Ontario based on what’s happening on the ground, based on the advice of the chief medical officer of health, our command table and our local public health experts. Most regions in Ontario will be allowed to proceed to Stage 2 this Friday, June 12. We will continue to keep a close eye on regions that will not open this Friday and we need just a little more time. We will continue talking to local officials who are playing a critical role in determining what areas can open. And I am confident that the rest of the province will get to stage two very, very soon.

And the good news is Stage 2 will allow people to resume many parts of their daily life. Wedding venues and religious places of worship will be able to host wedding ceremonies with a 10-person limit. Drive-in and drive-through venues for theatres, concerts, animal attractions and installations. Beauty salons, hairdressers, barbershops, day spas and other personal care services, with the exception of facial services. Indoor shopping malls with the food courts restricted to takeout. Restaurants and bars will be allowed to open their patios. Summer day camps will be able to open as well. More camping at Ontario parks and private campgrounds, as well as beach access. Libraries, community centres, museums and galleries with physical distancing and capacity limits. Tour and guide services including bike, walking and bus tours. Recreational amenities including splash pads, wading pools and swimming pools. And training for outdoor team sports. And tomorrow we’ll release our plan to reopen child care to support parents returning to work.

And for the regions that must wait a little longer, I ask you please remain patient. We will get there soon. My friends, we’re making progress. It’s a sign we’re on the right track. And for many small business owners, today’s announcement is good news because our small businesses are struggling right now. And for them, making rent is top of mind. That’s why we worked to get $900 million to help businesses with commercial rent relief. And as I was clear with commercial landlords, you have to be fair and help out everyone. But we still heard about some landlords who just didn’t get the message. Well, I’m here for the little guy. That’s why I’ve ordered legislation to ban commercial evictions for those who qualify for the commercial rent relief program. The ban would take effect for evictions on or after June 3 and last until Aug. 31. Our small business owners are the backbone of our communities. And now, more than ever, we all need to support them. So, please get out there, buy local, support your local small businesses. We all need to support others right now. And together we will come back stronger than ever before. Thank you and God bless the people of Ontario.