Ontario restaurants can reopen this week – but Toronto must wait

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Ontario restaurants can begin reopening this Friday, June 12 – but Toronto’s restaurants will have to wait a little longer, Ontario premier Doug Ford has announced.

In a press conference Monday, Ford confirmed that the province would take a regional approach during its Phase 2 reopening, allowing businesses like hair salons, day spas, and restaurants to open their doors in area that are less hard-hit by the pandemic.

“In many areas of the province, it is safe to ease restrictions,” Ontario health minister Christine Elliott said. “However, where we haven’t seen public health criteria met … certain public health units will remain at Phase One.”

That includes Toronto and other areas in the Golden Horseshoe, as well as border areas like Windsor.

The Toronto Star reported that the Ford government intends to announce on Mondays going forward if and when an area has reached the criteria to reopen on the following Friday.

That would mean that earliest day that restaurants could potentially reopen in the GTA would be June 19.

When asked how feasible a target date that is, Ford said that the province doesn’t “make moves in any region without the full consent of (local officials).”

“That would be a good question for Mayor (John) Tory and the chief medical officer of Toronto to answer,” he added.

In recent days, both Ontario and Toronto have been announcing new programs and details concerning restaurant reopening protocol in order to help food businesses prep for reopening. That includes announcing new municipal guidelines for restaurants, unveiling a new program for creating patio space in Toronto, and cutting red tape for patios at the provincial level.

Ford added he was confident the rest of the province would reopen shortly. “Please remain patient – we will get there soon,” he said.

In other small business news, Ford announced a ban on commercial evictions dating back to June 3 that would last until August 31 after widespread complaints that landlords were choosing to evict tenants instead of allowing them to access federal rent relief.

@nataliamanzocco

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Natalia came to NOW as the food writer in 2015 before taking over the lifestyle desk in 2019. She has written about food, style, technology, life and travel for the National Post, Sun Media, blogTO and Metro. She enjoys thrift stores and bad puns.

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June 8, 2020

1:56 PM