Oshawa, Durham set for patio season and Stage One re-opening Friday
Patio season officially gets underway in Oshawa, Whitby and the rest of Durham Region Friday as the Province moves to Step 1 of their Roadmap to Re-open.
And while long-suffering restaurants and bars who have had to limit their sales to take-out are happy with the move - as are locals who can finally enjoy a pint in the sunshine this weekend - retailers deemed by the Province as non-essential through most of the last 15 months can finally exhale.
You need a haircut? (Honestly, who doesn’t?) Sorry, you’ll have to wait for Stage 2 for that. But if you’ve been waiting for a chance to buy shoes for your family you can do that at least on Friday, along with a host of other activities currently banned under Covid legislation.
With Ontario reaching the 60 per cent mark for adult vaccines, outdoor social gatherings for up to 10 people will be allowed and essential retailers (who can now ditch the crime scene tape restricting access to certain aisles) can move to 25 per cent capacity. Non-essential retailers will be set at 15 per cent capacity.
Churches too, can re-open up to 15 per cent capacity, though that number can be bumped up for outside services as long as two-metre social distancing standards are met. Outdoor sports training and fitness classes can resume, with limits of ten people, but games and practices are still taboo.
For outdoor enthusiasts, as well as families looking for activities for the children as the weather heats up, day camps can now open. Campgrounds and overnight camping will be available Friday as well.
Horseracing and motor speedways can also re-open, though spectators are not yet allowed. Ajax Downs will open for the season June 16, with livestream available. With so many cars and drivers coming from the U.S., it is unclear when Canadian Tire Motorsport Park will be able to open.
Outdoor pools (with capacity limits), wading pools, outdoor zoos, historic sites and botanical gardens can also open, with 15 per cent capacity.
Shopping mall retailers will remain curb-side pick-up only, unless they have a storefront entrance.
With infection rates dropping every day to numbers not seen since last fall, health officials and residents alike are hopeful we will never see restrictive lockdowns again. As long as we avoid a fourth wave, we should be in Stage Two of the re-opening plan in a matter of weeks.
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