Well good afternoon.
It’s been weeks since we had to do the unthinkable. We had to put things on hold, we had to cope with the new normal, we had to make great personal sacrifices, and we did. Ontario stepped up. We threw everything we had at this virus. We mobilized 14 and a half million people in the fight against this virus, and together, we’re taking the legs out from under it.
My friends, thanks to our collective efforts, today we are prepared to announce the details of the next stage of reopening the economy. We’re getting thousands of people back to work, we’ve laid a solid foundation for our economic reopening and recovery. We have the framework, we have the workplace safety guidelines. We have the capacity in our health-care system. And today, I’m ready to announce that this Saturday at 12:01 a.m., private parks and campgrounds, marinas and boat clubs, golf courses and businesses that board animals will be allowed to open. And on Tuesday, May the 19th, we will enter the new stage, stage one, in the reopening of our province. We can re-open retail stores with street entrance that are not located in shopping malls with strict social distancing measures in place; certain seasonal venues, including outdoor sports fields, tennis courts and off-leash dog parks; vets and other pet services, such as pet grooming by appointment only; animal shelters; household services, such as cleaning and maintenance; certain health and medical services, including scheduled surgeries and in-person counselling. We’ll also lift the essential construction limits to allow all construction to resume.
I want to be clear that businesses should open only if they are ready. I’ll repeat that — only if they are ready. And we need to keep in mind that all of this is dependent on the numbers. The truth is, we can’t fully predict where things will go. So we need to be ready to react if we see a sudden increase in cases. We can not let our guard down now, we must watch the trends like a hawk. And we need to remember, as we ramp up more and more daily testing, as we get more and more people back to work, the risk of flare-ups is real. So we need to stay vigilant. We can’t take our progress for granted. We can’t ignore the health advice, we need to be ready to respond. And we will be ready.
We have the capacity in our health system. We have the testing and tracing systems in place. And we’ll be ready to respond to any flare-ups. My friends, today’s news is good news. Our efforts are paying off. And if we follow the medical advice. If we take our time and get it right, then we’ll be able to open more businesses, get more people back to work. We have a long way to go. We have a long road to recovery. But let’s take some time today and be grateful for how far we all have come.
Thank you, and God bless the people of Ontario.