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Ontario moving to step one of reopening plan on Friday

TORONTO – The Ontario government announced on Monday its intention to move the province into step one of its Roadmap to Reopen as of 12:01 a.m. on Friday, June 11.

The announcement was made in a press release, where Premier Doug Ford cited the “ongoing success of Team Ontario’s vaccine rollout and the ongoing improvements in public health trends” as the reasoning for moving into step one three days ahead of schedule.

“The only reason we’re able to do so is because of the enormous sacrifices made by individuals, families and communities across Ontario,” said Ford.

It was announced previously that for Ontario to enter step one of its reopening plan, 60 per cent of adults in Ontario needed to be vaccinated (for at least two weeks) against COVID-19. According to the province, as of June 6, 72 per cent of adults over 18 in Ontario had received at least one dose of a vaccine, and more than 10 million doses have been administered.

The province also needed to see continued improvement in key public health and health systems indicators, such as the number of patients in intensive care units (ICU) and the provincial case rate.

As of June 6, there were 497 patients with COVID-19 in ICU, compared to 687 two weeks ago. The provincial case rate decreased 35.1 per cent during the week of May 25-31. On June 7, Ontario reported 525 cases of COVID-19 – the fewest daily number of new cases since September 2020. The seven-day average for the province is down to 735 cases per day, or 35 weekly per 100,000.

Step one of the Roadmap to Reopening focuses on opening more outdoor activities with smaller crowds where the risk of transmission is lower. A limited number of indoor settings will also reopen in step one, with restrictions in place.

Step one includes:

  • outdoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 10 people;
  • outdoor religious services, rites, or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services, capped at the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres;
  • indoor religious services, rites, or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services permitted at up to 15 per cent capacity of the particular room;
  • non-essential retail permitted at 15 per cent capacity, with no restrictions on the goods that can be sold;
  • essential and other select retail permitted at 25 per cent capacity, with no restrictions on the goods that can be sold;
  • outdoor dining with up to four people per table, with exceptions for larger households;
  • outdoor fitness classes, outdoor groups in personal training and outdoor individual/team sports training to be permitted with up to 10 people, among other restrictions;
  • day camps for children permitted to operate in a manner consistent with the safety guidelines for COVID-19 produced by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health;
  • overnight camping at campgrounds and campsites, including Ontario Parks, and short-term rentals;
  • concert venues, theatres and cinemas may open outdoors to rehearse or perform a recorded or broadcasted concert, artistic event, theatrical performance or other performance with no more than 10 performers, among other restrictions;
  • outdoor horse racing tracks and motor speedways permitted to operate without spectators; and
  • outdoor attractions such as zoos, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens with capacity and other restrictions.

A full list of what can reopen in step one can be viewed on the province’s website.

The province will remain in step one for at least 21 days to monitor any impacts on key public health and health system indicators.

To move to step two of the reopening plan, 70 per cent of adults will need to be vaccinated with one dose and 20 per cent of adults will need to be fully vaccinated, as well as continued improvement in key public health indicators.