TORONTO — Ontario has outlined the construction activities which are essential and can continue in light of its announced closures of businesses deemed non-essential.
The closures began the night of March 24 as part of escalating government measures meant to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Premier Doug Ford announced the closures on March 23, issuing a lengthy list of the types of businesses that will be allowed to remain open.
“The grocery store clerks, transit and hydro workers and truckers are out there on the front lines making sure the people of Ontario continue to have access to the products and services they need,” Ford said in a statement. “It is essential that their workplaces be kept as safe as possible so these local heroes can return home to their families worry-free.”
Here are the province’s descriptions of construction work deemed essential:
- Construction projects and services associated with the healthcare sector, including new facilities, expansions, renovations and conversion of spaces that could be repurposed for health care space
- Construction projects and services required to ensure safe and reliable operations of critical provincial infrastructure, including transit, transportation, energy and justice sectors beyond the day-to-day maintenance
- Construction work and services, including demolition services, in the industrial, commercial, institutional and residential sectors
- Construction work and services that supports health and safety environmental rehabilitation projects
The government said Ontarians will still have access to grocery stores and pharmacies, and their power and telecommunications will continue to run. Beer, wine and liquor stores have been giving the green light to continue operations, as have gas stations, taxis and vehicle repair businesses.
Businesses that support IT infrastructure service providers, power generation, natural gas distribution and clean drinking water will also stay open. Child-care services, veterinary and animal health services, and funeral services are also exempted from closure, alongside dry cleaners, laundromats and a number of other industries.
The government said working from home and online commerce are permitted to continue for all businesses. The shutdown took effect at 11:59 p.m. on March 24 and will last for at least 14 days.
Ontario reported 78 new COVID-19 cases on March 23, the largest increase in a day so far, bringing the provincial total to 503, including six deaths and eight cases that have fully resolved.
— With files The Canadian Press