'Sigh of relief': Waterloo Region's golf courses can open this weekend; Ont. outlines three-step economic reopening plan
KITCHENER -- Golf courses and tennis courts in Waterloo Region will be able to reopen this weekend as provincial officials announced Thursday while unveiling a three-step plan to reopen Ontario's economy.
Outdoor amenities will be able to open on May 22.
"It's a sigh of relief, we can get on with the season," said Rob Moore, manager of the Deer Ridge Golf Course in Kitchener. "We didn't know when Christmas Day was coming, but now it's here."
Moore said they're still waiting on more details on what is allowed from the province, but will likely only be able to offer outdoor golf in the coming weeks.
"We're happy with that just to get going," Moore said.
He anticipates opening up more services at the course as the province moves through the stages of reopening.
Staff at the course will be busy Thursday and Friday while they prepare for opening day. Tee times are already booked into the weekend, Moore said.
Restaurants, however, will have to wait until Step One begins – officials are eyeing mid-June – before patios can reopen.
"I wish it was happening sooner, but if this is the plan, we'll abide by it," said Nick Benninger, co-founder of the Fat Sparrow Group. "Our staff, they are nervous about this being another turnstile, that they will come in and go back out. I think we want to know this is permanent."
For businesses that fall under Step Two, which won't begin until at least 21 days after Step One starts, Thursday's announcement brought more disappointment.
"It's frustrating to hear that we have to wait until July to get to the point that maybe we can open," said Laurie Hannoush, owner of Bare Essentials Waxing. "It almost feels like a jab that they're not letting us operate, because we're probably one of the cleaner environments to operate."
Meanwhile, gyms won't be permitted to reopen until Step Three, which could be as late as August.
"When you're lucky enough to consider your workplace an extension of your home, it makes it difficult to be away from it," said Eryn Lobsinger, chief operations officer at SydFIT. "We know at the end of this we'll still have that home to come back to, so we just keep going forward."
As of Saturday, outdoor gatherings can now increase to five people.
STAGED REOPENING PLAN
The first stage of the reopening plan will likely begin in mid-June, or two weeks after 60 per cent of eligible adults have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The first phase will allow some outdoor activities to occur, including larger outdoor gatherings and outdoor dining with a maximum of four people per table. Retail stores would also be able to reopen with capacity limits in place.
Phase two will move forward at least 21 days after the first, and after 70 per cent of adults are vaccinated. This step will allow for larger outdoor gatherings, small indoor gatherings, and personal care services.
The third phase is expected later this summer, when 70 to 80 per cent of adults have one vaccine dose and 25 per cent are fully vaccinated, and at least 21 days after the second step. That phase would allow for indoor attractions, events, attractions and sports.
The province's new three step reopening roadmap was announced at a press conference Thursday.
"We're taking a gradual and phased approach based on hitting vaccination targets," Premiere Doug Ford said at the conference. "We must approach this in the most careful and disciplined way."
He called the plan "transparent and predictable," with factors to be considered for moving between steps including vaccination rates, COVID-19 case counts, ICU numbers and the virus's reproductive rate.
"I know that there might be some people that want to move faster, but we can't risk it right now," Ford said, adding COVID-19 "remains a significant threat."
Health Minister Christine Elliott said the roadmap "represents a way out of the pandemic and provides a clear path forward."
The province expects to enter Step One of the reopening plan around the week of June 14, but the Health Minister said it could begin before that if certain criteria are met earlier.
"The timelines and the frames that we have set up are both realistic and achievable," Elliott said.
Here's what's reopening this weekend:
- Parks and recreational facilities
- Baseball diamonds and batting cages
- Sports fields
- Tennis and pickleball courts
- Basketball courts
- BMX and skate parks
- Golf courses and driving ranges
- Frisbee golf locations
- Cycling tracks and bike trails
- Horse-riding facilities
- Shooting ranges
- Archery ranges
- Boat launches
- Lawn game courts
'ROADMAP TO REOPEN': HOW IT WORKS
Requirements to enter: 60 per cent of adults vaccinated with one dose, plus positive trends in public health indicators
Projected time to enter: Around the week of June 14
- Outdoor gatherings up to 10 people
- Outdoor dining up to four people per table
- Outdoor fitness classes, personal training and sports training up to 10 people
- Overnight camps
- Essential retail at 25 per cent capacity and can sell all goods (including discount and big box)
- Non-essential retail at 15 per cent capacity
- Retail stores in malls closed unless the stores have a street facing entrance
- Outdoor religious services, rites and ceremonies with capacity limited to permit 2 metres’ physical distancing
- Horse racing and motor speedways without spectators
- Outdoor horse riding
- Outdoor pools, splash pads and wading pools with capacity limited to permit 2 metres’ physical distancing
- Outdoor zoos, landmarks, historic sites, and botanical gardens with capacity limits
- Campsites, campgrounds and short-term rentals
- Ontario Parks
Requirements to enter: 70 per cent of adults vaccinated with one dose, 20 per cent fully vaccinated, plus positive trends in public health indicators
Projected time to enter: At least 21 days after entering Step One
- Outdoor gatherings up to 25 people
- Indoor gatherings up to 5 people and other restrictions
- Outdoor dining up to 6 people per table
- Outdoor sports and leagues
- Outdoor meeting and event spaces with capacity limits
- Non-essential retail at 25 per cent capacity; essential retail at 50 per cent capacity
- Personal care services where face coverings can be worn at all times with capacity limits
- Outdoor cinemas and performing arts with capacity limits
- Horse racing and motor speedways for spectators with capacity limits
- Outdoor tour and guide services with capacity limits
- Indoor religious services, rites or ceremony gatherings at 15 per cent capacity
- Public libraries with capacity limits
- Outdoor waterparks and amusement parks with capacity limits
- Fairs and rural exhibitions with capacity limits
Requirements to enter: 70 to 80 per cent of adults vaccinated with one dose, 25 per cent fully vaccinated, plus positive trends in public health indicators
Projected time to enter: At least 21 days after entering Step Two
- Outdoor gatherings with larger capacity limits
- Indoor gatherings with larger capacity limits and other restrictions
- Indoor dining with capacity limits
- Indoor sports and recreational fitness facilities with capacity limits
- Indoor meeting and event spaces with capacity limits
- Essential and non-essential retail capacity expanded
- Personal care services with capacity expanded and other restrictions
- Indoor cinemas and performing arts facilities with capacity limits
- Indoor and outdoor religious services, rites or ceremony gatherings with capacity limited to permit 2 metres’ physical distancing
- Indoor museums and art galleries with capacity limits
- Indoor zoos, aquariums, waterparks and amusement parks with capacity limits
- Casinos and bingo halls with capacity limits
- Other outdoor activities from Step Two permitted to operate indoors
WIth files from CTV Kitchener's Nicole Lampa and Carmen Wong.