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Toronto residents celebrate with patios, non-essential shopping this weekend as Ontario reopens

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TORONTO —
There were long lines outside non-essential stores and patios were packed in Toronto on the first weekend after the province eased COVID-19 restrictions.

The province moved into Step 1 of its reopening framework on Friday allowing the return of dining on patios and non-essential in-store retail.

“We have been full since we’ve opened our doors,” said Justin Cheung, owner of Mira Mira Diner on Queen Street East. “It’s really going to be the make or break for a lot of restaurants to that have suffered for the past year and a half.”

After months of being limited to take-out, the restaurant’s patio has been at capacity since opening at noon. Current restrictions limit four people to table.

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The province is also permitting non-essential retailers to operate at 15 per cent capacity and with no limitations on what goods they can sell.

“Our normal life is back, we need that,” said one shopper at a women’s clothing boutique in the Beach.

For the second day in a row, there were long lines at a big box stores. Customers waiting outside a Winners in Leaside telling CTV News Toronto that the wait to get in the store was well over an hour Saturday morning.

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“We just got to have a social experience for once, it’s a good thing,” said one shopper.

TORONTO OPENS POOLS THIS WEEKEND

As COVID-19 restrictions ease in the province allowing outdoor activities to resume, the City of Toronto opened ten outdoor pools on Saturday, weeks ahead of schedule.

Pools are operating at 25 percent capacity and reservations must be made on the city’s website. Swim time is also limited to 45 minutes.

A select number of spaces at each outdoor pool location will be held back on a first-come, first-serve basis to ensure swimming remains accessible to people with limited access to the Internet.

“I’m delighted that we’re able to open up outdoor pools ahead of schedule now that the city has moved into Step 1 of the provincial reopening,” Mayor John Tory said in a press release.

“I encourage Torontonians to reserve their swim time and take advantage of the city’s outdoor pools and amenities throughout the summer.”

According to the city, more than 23,819 reservations were made in the first two days that the system was up and running.

The 10 outdoor pools that opened are:

  • Alex Duff – 779 Crawford St.
  • Monarch Park Pool – 115 Felstead Ave.
  • Heron Park CC – 292 Manse Rd.
  • Grandravine CC – 23 Grandravine Dr.
  • McGregor CC – 2231 Lawrence Ave. E.
  • Parkway Forest CC – 59 Forest Manor Rd.
  • Pine Point – 15 Grierson Rd.
  • Riverdale Park – 550 Broadview Ave. 
  • Sunnyside – Gus Ryder – 1755 Lake Shore Blvd. W.
  • West Mall – 380 The West Mall
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The remaining 49 outdoor pools will open for the season on June 19.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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