OTTAWA -- Mayor Jim Watson calls Ontario's Roadmap to Reopen the province's economy during the COVID-19 pandemic a "prudent approach" to lifting the restrictions and opening non-essential businesses over the next few months.

"At the end of the day, we don't want to go back and turn the clock back to another lockdown. Obviously, very pleased that outdoor activities like basketball, tennis, golf, pickleball, skateboarding those can come back this weekend," said Watson during an interview on CTV News at Five with Matt Skube.

"Obviously, the sooner we start getting more people vaccinated, it's tied into this scaled plan, that we can actually get more of the businesses open. "

The Ontario government unveiled a three-step plan to reopen the province and gradually lift public health measures Thursday afternoon, with the three steps based on the provincewide vaccination rate and improvements in key public health indicators.

Outdoor recreational amenities will reopen on Saturday, including golf courses and tennis courts, while outdoor gathering limits will be expanded to five people.

The three step-plan allows dining on restaurant patios and non-essential retail to open at 15 per cent capacity in step one. In step two, essential and non-essential retail capacity expands, personal care services open, larger outdoor gatherings for up to 25 people are allowed and indoor gatherings of up to five people are permitted. In step three, larger indoor and outdoor gatherings are permitted and indoor dining can reopen.

"Today's plan released by Premier Ford brings us a little bit of hope as vaccines are rolling out in large quantities, the weather is getting nicer and we can once again begin enjoying more outdoor activities," said Watson in a statement.

"The reopening plan will only be possible with our cooperation, Ottawa. We are not yet out of this. But if we proceed with caution, patience and compassion, I am confident that we will be able to drive down the number of cases in our community and see a more normal fall than last year's."

The Ontario government said Thursday that Ontario will likely enter Step 1 the week of June 14

Watson says he's sympathetic to restaurants, gyms and personal care settings that have to wait a few more weeks and months to open.

"I'm very pleased to see that outdoor dining is going to be made available for people up to four per table," said Watson on Newstalk 580 CFRA's Ottawa at Work with Kristy Cameron.

"As you know, the restaurant industry is one of the hardest hit and if we can get those outdoor patios open the better. I do feel very, very sorry for the gyms and the barbers, hair salons and so on.

"That's a long way for them to wait, but again (the Ontario government) is basing this on the evidence they have from the medical community. While it's easy to criticize, I shouldn't be second-guessing everything the science table comes up with."

Ontario is allowing outdoor recreational amenities to reopen this weekend, including golf courses and tennis courts.

"Everybody's eager to work, to see each other, to get active, to play. So it is a game changer," said Maria Pierre-Noel, executive director of the Ottawa Tennis and Lawn Bowling Club.

After being forced to close in mid-April due to the stay-at-home order, the tennis courts at the club will be open on Saturday.

"As a seasonal business we have a very short window to make our revenues, so more than frustration, it’s been a deep concern about the sustainability of our season," said Pierre-Noel.

Golf courses will also be open on the weekend.

"If you look at the science and data, there wasn't a known case at an Ontario golf course in 2020. So it's a little frustrating," said Bob Howell of the Metcalfe Golf Club.

The stay-at-home order will expire on June 2, but all non-essential businesses must remain closed until Ontario enters step 1.


Ontario is reopening outdoor recreational amenities with restrictions in place, including the need to maintain physical distancing.

As of May 22, amenities allowed to open include golf courses, driving ranges, soccer and other sports fields, tennis and basketball courts, and skate parks.

Outdoor limits for social gatherings and organized public events will be expanded to five people on May 22, including with members of different households.


Ontario says based on current trends in key health indicators, Ontario expects to enter Step One the week of June 14.

60 per cent of adults vaccinated with one dose

  • Larger outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people
  • Outdoor dining for up to four people per table
  • Essential retail capacity at 25 per cent
  • Non-essential retail at 15 per cent
  • Outdoor religious services, rites and ceremonies with capacity limited to permit two metres physical distancing
  • Outdoor sports, training and personal training for up to 10 people
  • Day camps
  • Campsites and campgrounds
  • Ontario Parks
  • Outdoor horse racing and motor speedways
  • Outdoor pools, splash pads and wading pools


70 per cent of adults vaccinated with one dose and 20 per cent vaccinated with two doses

  • Larger outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people
  • Small indoor gatherings of up to five people
  • Outdoor dining for up to six people per table
  • Essential retail at 50 per cent capacity
  • Non-essential retail capacity at 25 per cent
  • Personal care services where face coverings can be worn at all times
  • Outdoor amusement and water parks
  • Outdoor boat tour operators
  • Outdoor county fairs and rural exhibitions
  • Outdoor sports leagues and events


70 to 80 per cent of adults vaccinated with one dose and 25 per cent vaccinated with two doses

  • Larger indoor and outdoor gatherings
  • Indoor dining
  • Essential and non-essential retail open with limited capacity
  • Larger indoor religious services, rites and ceremony gatherings
  • Indoor sports and recreational facilities
  • Indoor seated events
  • Indoor attractions and cultural amenities
  • Other outdoor activities from Step 2 permitted to operate indoors

Ontario will remain in each step for at least 21 days to evaluate any impacts on key public health and health system indicators.