DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard
KAWARTHA LAKES/DURHAM: A number of businesses in the City of Kawartha Lakes were able to open on Friday, July 17th under the province of Ontario’s stage 3 reopening framework. On Monday, July 13th, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit area was named one of the areas that could proceed to stage 3 reopening, however the Region of Durham was one of the areas left in stage 2 as the province decided “additional time is required to assess and monitor any impacts and readiness to move into Stage 3” in that Region. Most businesses are able to open under this stage of provincial reopening. Those businesses or services that must remain closed currently include amusement parks and water parks, buffet-style food services, overnight children’s camps, private karaoke rooms, saunas, steam rooms, bathhouses, and casino table games. Only hired performers are allowed to dance at bars and restaurants. The province has also stated there will be no “prolonged or deliberate contact while playing sports” in stage 3. “Our success in reducing the spread of COVID-19 and getting Ontario to a place where we are ready to reopen most of the province, is a testament to the hard work of business owners, individuals and families right across the province,” Premier Doug Ford said, in a press release. “So many have stepped up and played by the rules, demonstrating that we can restart our economy safely and responsibly. Small actions can make a big difference. Now more than ever, we must continue to follow the public health advice to preserve the progress we have made together.” The province has stated for Regions in Stage 3, “indoor gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 50 people” and “outdoor gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 100 people.” An example of a service that can reopen under the stage 3 framework is indoor dining service at restaurants and bars. But there are restrictions on this. Patrons must be seated when eating at the establishment, and two-metre physical distancing measures at tables must be in place. Previously, in stage 2, restaurants could only allow outdoor dine-in service on patios. On Wednesday, July 15th, Kawartha Lakes Mayor Andy Letham told The Standard he’s heard some comments from a few restaurant owners and other business owners about this phase of reopening. “They’re obviously excited that they can open up inside. I had a couple calls a couple weeks ago from some of the gyms and fitness centres that were getting antsy [about] when they were going to be able to open. I’m going to assume they are pretty excited, based on the protocols that they are going to be able to get back into action as of Friday,” Mayor Letham said. “It changes [restaurants’] whole business model and makes it a little more feasible for them. Some of our restaurants didn’t open at all just with the patio, because it wasn’t worth their while, so hopefully this will change that perspective.” To track the status of regions in the stages of reopening, go online to Ontario.ca/reopen.