Ontario Reopens Some Shuttered Construction Sites
The Ontario government is reopening several mothballed construction projects, reclassifying them as essential.
The reclassification will allow projects closed in early April due to coronavirus fears to reopen as soon as Monday, providing they meet new safety guidelines.
"We are allowing certain businesses to reopen under strict guidelines because we are confident they can operate safely and adapt to the current environment," said Premier Doug Ford in announcing the change.
"While further reductions in the spread are needed before we can begin reopening the province, we have the right framework and the right workplace guidelines in place to do so gradually and safely."
Construction projects allowed to reopen include those associated with shipping and logistics, broadband, telecommunications and digital infrastructure, and any projects that support 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," states a government news release.
That last change was met with particular enthusiasm by the Residential Construction Council of Ontario, which characterized site preparation, excavation and servicing for residential developments as crucial to "providing housing for thousands of Ontarians."
“We commend the government for allowing additional construction activity to reopen,” said RESCON President Richard Lyall in a statement.
“Given the seasonal nature of construction, as well as the importance of the housing industry to the economic strength and recovery of the province, today’s announcement is an extremely positive one."
Also on board with the reopening was the Building Industry and Land Development Association and the Ontario Home Builders’ Association. In a mutual statement, they welcomed the provincial government’s decision.
“Building new communities and residential housing is a multi-step and lengthy process,” BILD President and CEO Dave Wilkes said.
“Extending the prohibition of critical work for much longer threatens the entire construction year, turning the GTA’s housing supply crunch into a full-blown crisis and undermining one of the province’s most important economic engines.”
Other businesses allowed to reopen under the new directive include garden centres and nurseries, lawn care and landscaping companies, auto dealerships (appointment only) and golf courses and marinas (preparation only).