Here's what you can and can't do, starting Friday

The first stage of Ontario's reopening plan allows limited shopping, outdoor dining and other activities we haven't been able to enjoy for months thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

1st stage of Ontario's reopening plan includes limited shopping, outdoor dining

As of Friday, outdoor dining at restaurants can resume in Ontario, with some restrictions. This photo was taken in Ottawa's ByWard Market on March 20, 2021. (Olivier Plante/Radio-Canada)

What marvels await us as of Friday, as most of Ontario enters into the first phase of its reopening plan?

Larger outdoor gatherings, patio dining and limited non-essential retail shopping are the big changes. But Phase 1 also allows for outdoor religious services, drive-in theatres and day camps for kids.

Some Ottawa bars planned on opening up their patios exactly at 12:01 a.m. until last call at 2 a.m. Friday.

The one exception to this reopening is the Porcupine Health Unit in northern Ontario, where restrictions will remain in place because the community is still having significant problems with spread.

Can I have friends over for a backyard gathering?

Yes. Phase 1 means you can have up to 10 people.  

Can I eat out at a restaurant?

You can eat on a restaurant patio with up to a maximum of three other people per table. Indoor dining at restaurants is not allowed until Phase 3.

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Neil Gowe puts the finishing touches on the Luxe patio in Ottawa's ByWard Market to get ready for Friday's reopening. (Hallie Cotnam/CBC)

Can I go shopping?

Yes, with restrictions. Non-essential retail will resume at 15 per cent capacity. Essential retail including big box and discount stores continue at 25 per cent capacity.

Starting Friday, those stores can sell all their goods. No more police tape across coloured pencils and Elmer's glue.

Retail stores in malls remain closed unless a store has a street-facing entrance. 

You still need to wear a mask inside any store, with a few limited exceptions

Can I get my hair cut?

No. Phase 1 still does not allow "personal care services." That means you still can't get your hair cut or coloured, nor can you get your eyebrows or underarms waxed or threaded. Those services will have to wait until Phase 2 of the reopening plan, and then only by appointment. 

Can I go camping?

Yes, Ontario Parks and all private campgrounds are open as of Friday.

As of Friday, you can rent a cottage or cabin in Ontario. There are still limitations on crossing provincial borders, however. (Submitted by Christine Brown)

Getaways to the cottage OK?

Short-term rentals, including Airbnbs, cottage and cabin rentals, are allowed as of Friday.

There are no restrictions on travel within Ontario, but remember: you can't share accommodation with another family when you get to your destination unless it's with a person who lives alone.

If you are sick, even with mild symptoms, you shouldn't head to Sandbanks or anywhere else. If you do travel within Ontario, try to bring enough supplies so you don't have to shop.

Camping resumes at Ontario's provincial parks on Friday. (Tyler Hulett/Shutterstock)

What if my cottage or favourite golf course is in Quebec?

According to the provincial website, "Ontario's chief medical officer of health strongly advises that individuals and families only travel out of the province if it is essential."

Travel from Manitoba or Quebec into Ontario is restricted until at least June 16, and that may be extended. There are lots of exceptions, including preventing damage to property.

The Quebec Government has its own rules restricting people from Ontario, but allows for an exception for people who own cottages in Quebec and who are responsible for its maintenance. 

There are no exceptions for people who are vaccinated.

Can I go to the gym?

No. Indoor gym activities aren't permitted in Phase 1. You can join an outdoor fitness class or work with a personal trainer outdoors, to a maximum of 10 participants, while keeping a three-metre distance. 

Can I play team sports such as baseball, soccer or cricket?

No. There are no team games or practices allowed. You are allowed to train with up to 10 people, again keeping a three-metre distance. 

Drive-in movie theatres can also reopen Friday. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

What outdoor activities are allowed?

As of Friday, you can use outdoor pools, wading pools and water slides, but keep a two-metre distance.

Horse racing and motor racetracks can reopen as of Friday, but without spectators. Outdoor zoos, historic sites and botanical gardens can reopen with capacity limited to 15 per cent.

Drive-in movie theatres can reopen as of Friday. The Drive-In Experience in the parking lot of Ottawa's RCGT Park is ready, as are the Skylight Drive-In in Pembroke, Ont., and Port Elmsley Drive-In.

Recreational boating is allowed, but only members of a single household can be aboard.

Since May 22, you've been allowed to use splash pads, golf courses, tennis courts, skateboarding parks, sports fields, BMX and skate parks, shooting and archery ranges, with restrictions.

Can I go to church, temple or mosque?

Yes, but only up to 15 per cent capacity of the indoor space. This means that in Phase 1, indoor weddings, funerals and other religious rites and ceremonies can now exceed the 10-person maximum, up to 15 per cent capacity.

Outdoor religious ceremonies are allowed, but people must be able to maintain a two-metre distance. 

Still have questions? Click here for a detailed list of what's allowed under Phase 1 of Ontario's reopening plan

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