Ontario will be moving to Step 3 of its reopening plan at 12:01 a.m. on Friday July 16, five days earlier than expected.
While face coverings in indoor public settings and physical distancing requirements will remain in place in Step 3, other activities will resume, such as indoor dining and gyms reopening.
“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,” Premier Doug Ford announced today in a statement. “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.”
With key public health indicators continuing to improve and the provincewide vaccination rate surpassing targets, Ontario will move into Step Three of the Roadmap to Reopen on July 16 at 12:01 a.m.
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) July 9, 2021
Step Three will focus on resuming additional indoor services with larger numbers of people and restrictions in place. This includes:
- 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% capacity of the indoor space. Capacity for indoor spectators is 50% of the usual seating capacity or 1,000 people, whichever is less. Capacity for outdoor spectators is 75% 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% capacity or 1,000 people, (whichever is less);
- Essential and non-essential retail 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% capacity indoors and 75% capacity outdoors;
- Concert venues, cinemas, and theatres permitted to operate at: up to 50% capacity indoors or a maximum limit of 1,000 people for seated events (whichever is less); and 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;
- 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).
In order to enter Step 3, Ontario needed to have vaccinated 70 to 80% of individuals 18 years of age or older with one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 25% with two doses for at least two weeks.
As of Friday morning, July 9—16,619,927 doses of approved COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Ontario; approximately 78.1% of people 12+ in Ontario have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and approximately 50.1% of people 12+ in Ontario are fully vaccinated.
Some are wondering what happens after Step 3.
The province will remain in Step 3 for at least 21 days and until 80% of the eligible population aged 12 and over has received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 75% have received their second, with no public health unit having less than 70% of their eligible population aged 12 and over fully vaccinated. Other key public health and health care indicators must also continue to remain stable.
Only then will the vast majority of public health and workplace safety measures, including capacity limits for indoor and outdoor settings and limits for social gatherings, will be lifted. Only a small number of measures will remain in place, including the requirement for passive screening, such as posting a sign, and businesses requiring a safety plan.
On Friday, Ontario reported 183 cases of COVID-19 with over 26,100 tests completed. The numbers include 50 new cases in the Region of Waterloo, 24 in Peel Region, 24 in Grey Bruce, 22 in Toronto, and 10 in Halton Region. The province also reported 9 new deaths.
Click here for more COVID-19 Ontario updates.