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Reopening Ottawa: Phase 1 begins Tuesday
OTTAWA -- Businesses in Ottawa are getting set to reopen their doors to customers as Stage 1 of Ontario's reopening plan comes into effect.
Following the reopening of garden centres, hardware stores, and retailers for curbside pickup, many retail outlets with street entrances will be allowing customers back inside – with strict physical distancing guidelines. Shopping malls will not be reopening Tuesday.
Vehicle dealerships, animal grooming businesses, and libraries are also set to resume some of their services Tuesday.
The Ottawa Public Library, however, says it is not ready yet to offer pick-up and delivery.
- See more: Long list of businesses set to reopen in Ontario as province hits first stage of restarting the economy
"There is a lot of work to do be able to offer these services while ensuring the safety of our employees and our customers," the Library says on its website. "Our plan to resume our physical services needs to account for physical distancing requirements, provision of personal protective equipment, enhanced sanitary controls, and new protocols for employees and customers. We are working on offering holds pick-ups as soon as we can safely do so."
The shopping experience will be different. Retailers who choose to reopen will be following strict guidelines to limit the risk of a second wave of COVID-19 infections.
The number of customers in a store will be reduced, to allow for physical distancing. The traffic flow arrows you may have seen at the grocery store will be a regular sight at other retailers now, too. For clothing stores, fitting rooms will need to be equipped with doors instead of curtains and will be sanitized after each use.
Employers will be required to provide training to staff on how to clean cash registers and other equipment. Start times and breaks should be staggered to limit the number of staff coming and going at one time.
Among other services resuming Tuesday:
- All construction and essential workplace limits lifted.
- Non-emergency diagnostic imaging and surgeries in public hospitals, private hospitals and independent health facilities, clinics, and private practices to resume based on ability to meet specified pre-conditions.
- Certain health and medical services, such as in-person counselling and scheduled surgeries.
- Outdoor recreational sports centres for sports not played in teams.
- Professional and amateur sport activity for individual/single competitors.
- General maintenance, and repair services
Ottawa business owners cautious
Helen Aikenhead, who owns the 3 Wild Women boutique in Westboro, tells CTV News she's made adjustments to welcome back customers.
"We're trying by appointment only," she said. "We're trying to limit the number of women in the store and we're limiting the change rooms to two change rooms."
The owners of Flock Boutique on Wellington West posted a list of their new measures to Instagram, welcoming customers back Wednesday.
"We only want to re-open if we can do so safely so please be mindful as you shop. Customers not adhering to the rules will be asked to leave," the post says.
Pet grooming services are set to resume today, but some owners say they're already booked up.
Jayme Montero, of Purrdy Paws Pet Grooming and Mobile Spa, tells CTV Morning Live, they're booked into July.
The groomer still isn't allowing pet owners inside the salon. They will drop their pets off at the door and a staff member will bring the animal inside for grooming.
Businesses are not forced to reopen, and can remain closed until they have systems in place to ensure the safety of staff and customers.
Gareth Davies, who owns Makerhouse in Hintonburg, tells CTV News he believes they're still a couple of weeks away from reopening.
"Our decision to not reopen yet comes down to safety of our staff and customers," he said. "We don't want to contribute to a second wave."
Ottawa Public Health will monitor the impact of the reopening of businesses and other easing of COVID-19 restrictions.
"As these changes increase our interactions with others, there is an increased risk of infection rates rising," said a joint statement from Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches and Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brent Moloughney.
"We have to stay vigilant and continue to practice physical distancing and limiting the total number of people that we come in contact with."
Each of the three stages in Ontario's reopening plan will be monitored by provincial health officials as well for two to four weeks to ensure it is safe to proceed.
Stage 2 could include a lifting of restrictions on gatherings. Currently, gatherings of five or more people outside of one's household are prohibited in Ontario.
Emergency restrictions extended, but some relaxation begins
The Ontario government has extended emergency restrictions brought about by COVID-19 to at least May 29. Bars and restaurants remain closed, except for take-out or delivery, and social gatherings of more than five people remain prohibited.
The restrictions on use of some outdoor amenities, such as outdoor picnic areas, and benches and shelters in parks will be lifted. Outdoor playgrounds, play structures and equipment, fitness equipment, public swimming pools, splash pads and similar outdoor water facilities will remain closed until later stages of the province's reopening plan.
Drive-in religious gatherings have been allowed. Vehicles must remain at least two metres apart from each other, and only members of the same household are allowed in each vehicle. Congregants will not be permitted to leave their vehicles during the service and no more than five people can conduct the service at one time from outside a motor vehicle and they must stay at least two metres apart.
With files from CTV News Ottawa's Josh Pringle and CTV News Toronto's Katherine DeClerq