Doug Ford reopening announcement

Ontario is moving into step 2 of reopening before Canada Day

The Ontario government is moving the province into step two of its Roadmap to Reopen at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, June 30, 2021 (two days earlier than expected).

Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, made the announcement Thursday morning at Queens Park.

“People are very excited they could get haircuts again,” Williams noted. “You could visit outdoor amusement parks and water parks. For the first time in a long time you could gather indoors with up to 5 people not necessarily from your household.”

Step Two of the Roadmap includes resuming more outdoor activities and limited indoor services with small numbers of people where face coverings are worn, with other restrictions in place. This includes:

  • Outdoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 25 people;
  • Indoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 5 people;
  • Essential and other select retail permitted at 50 per cent capacity;
  • Non-essential retail permitted at 25 per cent capacity;
  • Personal care services where face coverings can be worn at all times, and at 25 per cent capacity and other restrictions;
  • Outdoor dining with up to 6 people per table, with exceptions for larger households and other restrictions;
  • Indoor religious services, rites, or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services permitted at up to 25 per cent capacity of the particular room;
  • Outdoor fitness classes limited to the number of people who can maintain 3 metres of physical distance;
  • Outdoor sports without contact or modified to avoid contact, with no specified limit on number of people or teams participating, with restrictions;
  • Overnight camps for children operating in a manner consistent with the safety guidelines produced by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health;
  • Outdoor sport facilities with spectators permitted at 25 per cent capacity;
  • Outdoor concert venues, theatres and cinemas, with spectators permitted at 25 per cent capacity;
  • Outdoor horse racing and motor speedways, with spectators permitted at 25 per cent capacity;
  • Outdoor fairs, rural exhibitions, festivals, permitted at 25 per cent capacity and with other restrictions.

The decision was made as key health care indicators continue to improve. For one, the province-wide vaccination rate now surpasses the targets outlined in the province’s Roadmap to Reopen.

In order to enter step two of the Roadmap, Ontario needed to have vaccinated 70% of adults with one dose and 20% with two doses for at least two weeks. As of Thursday morning, June 24, 13,321,816 doses have been administered, 75.619% of people 12+ in Ontario have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine, and 27.392% of people 12+ in Ontario are fully vaccinated (earlier this week the government announced that fully vaccinated travellers can enter Canada without quarantine as of July 5).

The province also needed to see continued improvement with hospitalizations, ICU occupancy, and the weekly cases incidence rates.

As of June 23, the number of patients with COVID-19 in ICUs is 300, as compared to 450 two weeks ago. The number of patients currently hospitalized with COVID-19 is 284; the total number patients in ICU on a ventilator due to COVID-related critical illness is 189.

With key health indicators improving, some Ontarians are wondering why the province doesn’t head directly into Step 3.

On Thursday, Ontario reported 296 cases of COVID-19 with over 29,500 tests completed. This includes 95 new cases in the Region of Waterloo, 35 in Toronto, 20 in Peel Region, 19 in Hamilton, and 17 in Ottawa.

At the press conference, Dr. Williams said the province will be “data-driven” in its decisions and will continue to monitor key public health indicators, as well as variants of concern.

As of June 23, there were 4,270 cases of the Gamma variant; 1,156 cases of the Beta variant, and 1,056 cases of the Delta variant (which is becoming a dominant strain in Ontario).

Click here for more COVID-19 Ontario updates.

Article exclusive to TRNTO