ontario businesses reopening

Toronto releases plan to help businesses prepare to reopen for pickup and delivery

Businesses in Ontario that have long been shuttered due to the pandemic are slowly being given the go-ahead to open their doors once again, and the city of Toronto just released a list of recommendations to help them prepare to do so safely and efficiently. 

Garden centres and nurseries in the province are already permitted to be open for in-store payment and purchases (as long as they have safety measures in place), and hardware and safety supply stores are allowed to open for in-store payment and purchases starting tomorrow. 

On Monday, all retail stores with a street entrance can also begin to offer curbside pickup and delivery. 

In light of this, the Emergency Operations Centre, Toronto Public Health, the Toronto Office of Recovery and Rebuild, Transportation Services, and other city divisions have come up with a list of guidelines for businesses to help encourage physical distancing and stop the spread of the virus once they reopen. 

Examples of how business owners can help keep employees and customers safe include:
• Actively managing entry into their stores by putting up signage and visual cues such as cones or tape
• Encouraging employees and customers to wear face coverings, such as non-medical masks or scarves
• Managing lines inside the store by placing tape every two metres (six feet)
• Allowing for online or over the phone orders
• Scheduling pickup times for customers
• Defining a process for how employees interact with customers – especially related to loading vehicles and payments
• Where possible, only accepting payments by credit card, debit or gift card

"It is critical that the opening of more businesses and shops is done in a safe way that doesn’t allow for further spread of this deadly virus," Toronto Mayor John Tory said in a statement. 

"Much of that – as always has been the case – will rely on individual residents continuing to do the right thing and keeping their distance from others. And it will absolutely rely on businesses continuing to do the right thing and following the provincial regulations and public health recommendations."

The city says businesses should continue to follow advice from public health experts by planning to manage physical distancing for customers and employees, supporting proper hand hygiene, keeping surfaces and objects clean and finding ways to limit contact between people.

They also urge people to read up on city tips for businesses operating during this time, which are available online.

"While the curbside pick-up accommodation is meant to help businesses get going again, business should be carried out in a manner that is consistent with the continuing public health challenge," notes the city's news release. 

"Business owners should not initiate sales or promotions designed to attract big crowds and should adhere to all public health guidelines."

The release also indicates that CurbTO — the city's plan to address busy "hot spots" outside businesses and reduce sidewalk crowding — will be expanded to support additional retail locations throughout Toronto.

"I strongly encourage all businesses that are permitted to open to closely follow the advice and guidance of public health experts by ensuring physical distancing measures are in place," Tory said.

"And to diligently plan for their re-opening in advance so that they keep their employees and customers safe and prevent any further spread of COVID-19."

Lead photo by

Fareen Karim

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