It’s coming in small, slow steps, but Ontario is beginning to reopen.
“The Roadmap to Reopen includes a gradual lifting of public health measures as vaccination rates increase and as key public health indicators improved,” said Kelly Ferguson, a member of Southwestern Public Health’s COVID-19 Community Support Task Force.
Step 1 of a three-step roadmap began June 11, three days ahead of schedule.
“The idea is that there would be 21 days before moving from one step to the next, however this will depend on vaccination rates as well as the public health indicators,” said Ferguson.
That means Step 2 could begin around July 2, and Step 3 around July 23.
“This, of course, could change,” said Ferguson.
“The focus of Step 1 is on reviewing outdoor activities with smaller groups, as well as on retail with capacity restrictions in place.”
Highlights include outdoor gatherings with up to 10 people. Indoor gatherings are not yet permitted with people outside of your household in Step 1.
“We will all be happy to hear that patio dining and outdoor dining can now resume with up to four people per table. Rest assured that families larger than four can dine together if they live at the same address.”
Non-essential retail can open at 15 per cent capacity, except for retail in shopping malls that does not have a street-facing entrance.
Capacity limits for essential retail are at 25 per cent.
Outdoor religious services with physical distancing can resume and indoor religious services can resume with 15 per cent capacity.
“We are happy to see more outdoor activities resuming to support mental health and well-being. That includes outdoor fitness classes, personal training, and sports training for up to 10 people. Still no games or practices just yet.”
Outdoor pools and overnight camping are also reopening, and day camps are permitted to operate.
“In Step 2 we will see expansion of outdoor activities as well as limited indoor services. Outdoor sports and leagues can resume.”
Indoor dining will resume in Step 3 with capacity limits.
“Thanks to the sacrifices made by all of you, the Ontario government (moved) the province into Step One of its Reopening Plan several days ahead of schedule,” said medical officer of health Dr. Joyce Lock. “As we take these first steps toward a greater sense of normalcy, and we walk this hopeful path, let’s remain vigilant, by following all public health guidelines and rolling up our sleeves to get vaccinated.”