Ontario Moving to Step 3 Reopening Early

By: Laura Steiner
Ontario is moving to step 3 in its reopening plan.  The announcement comes as the province has hit its targets  according to the reopening Ontario one week early on July 16, instead of the projected July 23.
” Thanks to the tireless efforts of our frontline heroes, and the ongoing commitment of Ontarians to get vaccinated, we have surpassed the targets we set in order to enter Step thre of our roadmap,” Premier Doug Ford said.  Over 16 million doses have been administered province-wide.
The province needed to have given a single shot of COVID-19 vaccine to 70-80% of adult residents.  25% needed to have two doses for two weeks.  As of yesterday, over 77% of the population over the age of 12, had received one dose and 50% had received two doses of vaccine.
Stage three includes capacity limits on social gatherings, the re-opening of gyms, indoor dining, and personal care services.
Indoor services:

  • Social gatherings, and public events are limited to 25 people
  • Religious services/ceremonies/rites: Allowed with social distancing
  • Indoor sports and recreational facilities: Reopen with 50% capacity  of indoor spaces.  Limits for spectators are also at 50% or 1,000, whichever is less.  Outdoor sports increase to 75% of capacity or 15,000 people, whichever is less.
  • Indoor dining is allowed without limits on number patrons per table.  Physical distancing policy will still be in place. Restaurants, and clubs offering dancing are limited to 25% capacity or 250 people (whichever is less)
  • Indoor meeting spaces:  Reopened, but limited to 50% capacity or 1,000 people, whichever is less.
  • Essential and non-essential Retail: Limited to the number of people that can physically distance
  • Personal care services including those requiring mask removal are limited to the number of people that can social distance

Open with capacity limits

  • Museums, galleries, historic sites, aquariums, zoos, landmarks, botanical gardens, science centres, casinos/bingo halls, amusement parks, fairs and rural exhibitions, festivals, with capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity indoors and 75 per cent capacity outdoors;
  • Concert venues, cinemas and theatres are limited to 50% capacity or a maximum of 1,000 whichever is less for seated events.  Outdoor events limited to 75% of capacity up to 5,000 people for unseated events, or 15,000 for seated events
  • Real Estate open houses will be limited to the amount of people who can physically distance.

“Thanks to the continued efforts of Ontarians adhering to public health measures and advice, as well as going out to get vaccinated, we have seen most key health indicators continue to improve,” Chief Medical Officer of health Dr. Kieran Moore said.  The provincial caseload decreased by 23% over the two week period between June 29, and July 5.  There are only 202 patients in Ontario ICUS with COVID-19.
The province will remain in step three for a three week period.  Requirements to physical distance, as well as wear non-medical face coverings will remain in place throughout.  The province’s goals are to administer a first dose to at least 80% of the eligible population over the age of 12, and a second dose to 75%.  “The pandemic is not over and we must remain vigilant and continue following the measures and advice in place as the Delta variant continues to pose a threat to public health,” Moore said.  The variant is described by experts to be more contagious than earlier strains, and target those who have not had the COVID-19 vaccine.