ONTARIO – The province of Ontario has announced that it will enter Step Three of their COVID-19 re-opening plan five days early on July 16.
As the province’s vaccination efforts have progressed, infection rates of the COVID-19 virus has fallen, as have hospitalization rates. As of Friday, July 9 between 70 and 80 per cent of all Ontario adults have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Between June 29 and July 5 the provincial case rate for active COVID-19 cases has dropped by more than 23 per cent.
“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 Three of our Roadmap,” said Premier Doug Ford. “While this is welcome news for everyone who wants a return to normal, we will not slow down our efforts to fully vaccinate everyone who wants to be and put this pandemic behind us once and for all.”
Under Step Three of the re-opening plan, restrictions are being relaxed and will be replaced with the following protocols:
- Outdoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 100 people with limited exceptions;
- Indoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 25 people;
- Indoor religious services, rites or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services permitted with physical distancing;
- Indoor dining permitted with no limits on the number of patrons per table with physical distancing and other restrictions still in effect;
- Indoor sports and recreational fitness facilities to open subject to a maximum 50 per cent capacity of the indoor space. Capacity for indoor spectators is 50 per cent of the usual seating capacity or 1,000 people, whichever is less. Capacity for outdoor spectators is 75 per cent of the usual seating capacity or 15,000 people, whichever is less;
- Indoor meeting and event spaces permitted to operate with physical distancing and other restrictions still in effect and capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity or 1,000 people, (whichever is less);
- Essential and non-essential retail with with capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres;
- Personal care services, including services requiring the removal of a face covering, with capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres;
- 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 permitted to operate at:
- up to 50 per cent capacity indoors or a maximum limit of 1,000 people for seated events (whichever is less)
- up to 75 per cent capacity outdoors or a maximum limit of 5,000 people for unseated events (whichever is less); and up to 75 per cent capacity outdoors or a maximum of 15,000 people for events with fixed seating (whichever is less).
- Real estate open houses with capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres; and
- Indoor food or drink establishments where dance facilities are provided, including nightclubs and restobars, permitted up to 25 per cent capacity or up to a maximum limit of 250 people (whichever is less).
Rules around face coverings and social distancing remain in place. Ontario will remain in Step Three for 21 days, and until 80 per cent of the adult population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 75 per cent have received their second dose. Additionally, to leave Step Three, all health units must have a vaccination rate of at least 70 per cent of adults being fully vaccinated.