‘A critical transition’: Stage 1 of Ontario’s gradual reopening begins Tuesday

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Tuesday marks the first day that a limited number of Ontario businesses can open their doors after powering down for about two months due to the spread of the novel coronavirus.

As announced by the province last week, all construction, as well as certain health and medical services, seasonal and recreational activities and household and animal services can now resume operations.

So can retail stores outside of shopping malls, provided they have street-front entrances and can maintain physical distancing measures to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, according to the Ontario government.

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While Tuesday’s step forward marks progress for an economy that all but ground to a halt in March, it’s still the first in what officials have said will be a slow and cautious reboot with a contagious virus that still looms large.

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“This is a critical transition for many countries around the world,” Dr. Saverio Stranges, professor and chair Western University’s department of epidemiology and biostatistics, said on Monday.

“We need to be careful, especially in indoor spaces, to avoid gatherings of a large number of people with long duration of contact between people.”

In a news conference last week,

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