This past Wednesday, our province moved on to Step 2 of the Roadmap to Reopen Ontario Plan, two days ahead of the anticipated start. This progress reflects several factors, including the effectiveness of our lockdown and Step 1 measures, the huge progress made in our vaccination program, and the increase in fresh air that summer brings. Step 2 allows for the return of a wide variety of services, including being able to get your hair cut and other personal care services. Other key relaxations include increasing outdoor gatherings to 25 from 10, allowing indoor groups of up to five people with restrictions, and resuming sports, leagues, overnight camps, meetings, and events with capacity limits. For businesses: non-essential retail capacity rises to 25 percent, while essential retail jumps to 50 percent, and outdoor dining increases to six people per table. Another component is the resumption of indoor religious gatherings at 25 percent capacity. The relaxed pandemic atmosphere still requires everyone to maintain best practices, especially as the more contagious Delta variant remains active. More information is available at https://www.ontario.ca/reopening-ontario.
Ontario’s vaccination efforts continue to rack up milestones, as we are on pace to surpass five million fully vaccinated Ontarians by this weekend. The province recorded four million on Saturday, June 26, only five days after hitting the three million mark. The Eastern Ontario Health Unit’s vaccination team, led by Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, continues its tremendous pace. It is just ahead of provincial numbers, providing almost 80 percent of adults with their first dose. In our race to fully vaccinate our region, second dose appointments are now open to all adults in which it has been at least 28 days since they received their first dose. In addition, our youth 12 to 17 years old who are looking for their FIRST dose, can receive their COVID-19 vaccine without an appointment at one of our many daily clinics. For all other individuals we have a daily standby list that people can register for as well. Check the EOHU’s website after 8 a.m. for eligibility and the day’s available clinics and locations at www.EOHU.ca.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has approved the mixing of Moderna, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca vaccines, as complete vaccination provides more than 90 percent protection against contracting this virus. The program’s success is the major factor in us having no COVID-19 patients in our area’s hospitals for the first time since last summer. You can book your vaccine appointments at our local clinics and pharmacies at www.Ontario.ca/bookvaccine or by calling 1-888-999-6488 if you have a red and white OHIP card or need assistance.
This week, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark announced that up to $24 million is being made available through Intake 2 of Ontario’s Municipal Modernization Program. The 254 approved projects are designed to provide innovative and streamlined solutions to enhance services and save taxpayers’ dollars. The program will allow for implementing a wide range of initiatives to digitize, streamline and/or integrate programs and services with neighbouring communities. Locally, six projects were approved in Cornwall, South Stormont, South Glengarry, and North and South Dundas. Remember to maintain personal spacing, wear a mask, and book your vaccinations.
MPP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry