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Ontario advancing to Step Three of reopening plan on July 16

Friday, July 09, 2021 @ 12:23 PM | By Amanda Jerome

On July 9, the Ontario government announced the province will be moving “into Step Three of the Roadmap to Reopen at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 16.”

According to a government release, Ontario “needed to have vaccinated 70 to 80 per cent of individuals 18 years of age or older with one dose and 25 per cent with two doses for at least two weeks” in order to enter Step Three.

“Thanks to the dedicated efforts of Ontario’s health-care partners, as of July 8, 2021, over 77 per cent of the population in Ontario ages 12 and over have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and over 50 per cent have received their second dose. More than 16.6 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered provincewide,” the release explained.

According to the release, Step Three “focuses on the resumption of additional indoor services with larger numbers of people and restrictions in place.”

Some examples include:
  • “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;
  • 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;
  • 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).”

Face coverings in indoor public settings and physical distancing requirements remain in place, the release stressed.

To get to Step Three, the province also had to see “continued improvement in other key public health and health-care indicators, including hospitalizations, ICU occupancy and the weekly cases incidence rates.”

“After entering Step Two, during the period of June 29 to July 5, 2021, the provincial case rate decreased by 23.3 per cent. As of July 8, the number of patients with COVID-19 in ICUs is 202, including three patients from Manitoba, as compared to 286 two weeks ago,” the release noted.

The release also stressed that Ontario’s “epidemiological situation is distinct from other jurisdictions and the delta variant is the dominant strain in Ontario, which is not the case with some other provinces.”

“As a result, on the advice of the chief medical officer of health, face coverings will also continue to be required for indoor public settings. The chief medical officer of health will continue to evaluate this need on an ongoing basis,” the release added.

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