List of Businesses that can Open in Ontario (COVID-19)

Read the list of workplaces that can open back up in Ontario response to better COVID-19 data

On May 1, 2020, in response to changing COVID-19 conditions, Premier Ford announced that certain Ontario businesses can reopen if they comply with strict public health measures (i.e. rules about social distancing and hygiene, etc.)

Over time, the list of businesses that can be opened back up in Ontario will be expanded (see below for the dates new kinds of businesses can open in Ontario). We will post the changes as they come in on this article. Every other Ontario non-essential business is not yet permitted to re-open.

The public health measures that businesses that are allowed to open must follow are located on the Government of Ontario website. Find your type of business on the chart and click on the link for the specific public health measures that apply to your workplace.

Instructions about how to reopen a workplace and other employment law concerns regarding COVID-19 reopening can be found here.

Beginning on May 4th, the following Ontario businesses are permitted to open back up (source):

May 4, 2020

  • Some construction projects that include:
    • shipping and logistics;
    • broadband, telecommunications, and digital infrastructure;
    • any other project that supports the improved delivery of goods and services;
    • municipal projects;
    • colleges and universities;
    • child care centres;
    • schools; and
    • site preparation, excavation, and servicing for institutional, commercial, industrial and residential development;
  • Automatic and self-serve car washes;
  • Auto dealerships, open by appointment only;
  • Golf courses may prepare their courses for the upcoming season, but not open to the public; and
  • Marinas may also begin preparations for the recreational boating season by servicing boats and other watercraft and placing boats in the water, but not open to the public. Boats and watercraft must be secured to a dock in the marina until public access is allowed.

May 8, 2020

  • Garden centres and nurseries (customers will be able to shop in-store).

May 9, 2020

  • Hardware stores and safety supply stores (customers will be able to shop in-store).

May 11, 2020

  • Retail stores with a street entrance for curbside pickup and delivery.
  • Below-grade, multi-unit residential construction projects like apartments and condominiums.

May 16, 2020

  • Golf courses will be able to open, with clubhouses open only for washrooms and restaurants open only for take-out.
  • Marinas, boat clubs and public boat launches may open for recreational use.
  • Private parks and campgrounds may open to enable preparation for the season and to allow access for trailers and recreational vehicles whose owners have a full season contract.
  • Businesses that board animals, such as stables, may allow boarders to visit, care for or ride their animal.

May 19, 2020

  • Retail services that are not in shopping malls and have separate street-front entrances with measures in place that can enable physical distancing, such as limiting the number of customers in the store at any one time and booking appointments beforehand or on the spot.
  • Construction: All construction to resume and essential workplace limits lifted (includes land surveyors)
  • Vehicle dealerships
  • Office-based media operations involving equipment that does not allow for remote working.
  • Certain public and private health and medical services.
  • Seasonal businesses and recreational activities for individual or single competitors, including training and sport competitions conducted by a recognized national or provincial sport organization. This includes indoor and outdoor non-team sport competitions that can be played while maintaining physical distancing and without spectators, such as tennis, track and field and horse racing.
  • Libraries for pick-up or delivery.
  • Outdoor recreational sports centres for sports not played in teams.
  • Animal services, specifically pet care services, such as grooming and training, and regular veterinary appointments.
  • Some sporting competitions.
  • Professional services related to research and development.
  • Indoor and outdoor household services that can follow public health guidelines, such as housekeepers, cooks, cleaning and maintenance.
  • Emissions inspection facilities.

See this document from the Ontario Government for more details about this broad May 19, 2020 announcement for businesses permitted to reopen.

Dutton Employment Law advises employers in all industries in Ontario on employer rights, employment law, human rights law and occupational health and safety law. Call for a free consultation with an employment lawyer.