Ontario to move to Step Three reopening on July 16

TORONTO – Indoor dining, activities and events can begin to reopen on July 16, five days earlier than originally scheduled.

Premier Doug Ford made the announcement at 11:30 a.m. this morning (July 9).

“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,” said Ford in a release.

Public health indicators like COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, ICU occupancy, and weekly case statistics, along with a faster-than-planned vaccinations rates contributed to the decision.

Provincially, new infection rates has been fewer than 200 cases per day for several days. In the Eastern Ontario Health Unit region, there are two active cases, one in South Dundas and one in Alfred-Plantagenet.

Entering Step Three of the Ontario reopening plan means restaurants can reopen to indoor dining. There are no limits on how many people can dine together at the same table, and there are no set capacity limits from the province. Two metres of physical distancing between each table must be maintained. Restaurants can set their own capacity limits based on maintaining the two metres of space between tables.

Indoor social gatherings, and organized public events of up to 25 people can take place, as can religious services and ceremonies like weddings and funerals. Physical distancing and masking is still required.

Outdoor gatherings and public events are allowed up to 100 people.

Indoor meeting spaces and events spaces can open with physical distancing masking in place. Spaces can open to 50 per cent capacity or 1,000 people, which ever is the lesser amount.

Museums, galleries, historic sites and landmarks, casinos, bingo halls, amusement parks, fairs, and festivals can open. Indoor activities are set at 50 per cent capacity, outdoor is 75 per cent capacity.

Concert halls, theatres like the Upper Canada Playhouse, and movie theatres can open to 50 per cent capacity indoors, or 1,000 people – whichever is less.  Outdoor venues are 75 per cent capacity or 5,000 people (unseated) – 15,000 seated – whichever is less.

Night clubs and dance facilities can open at 25 per cent capacity or 250 people, whichever is less.

Indoor sports can resume. Arenas and other indoor sports spaces are 50 per cent capacity. Spectators are 50 per cent of normal capacity or 1,000 people, whichever is less. Outdoor is up to 75 per cent capacity for seated events, or 15,000 people.

Personal care services that require face masks to be removed can take place so long as physical distancing requirements are met.

In all indoor instances, there are spacing and masking requirements.

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore, credited Ontarians’ willingness to get vaccinated for the quicker-than-planned reopening.

“It is through immunization we will be eliminate this virus,” he said. “We’ll continue to monitor all the data as we move into Step Three.”

The doctor said more than 200,000 people per day are being vaccinated in the province currently.

Moore continued that further reductions of public health measures will take place when higher vaccination goals are met, and other public health statistics allow. Those measures will include removing masking requirements.

“That will be guided by data,” Moore said.

The full regulations for Step Three of the reopening is available here.

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