The Ontario government announced from that the province will move into Step 3 of its reopening plan on July 16, earlier than the anticipated July 21 date.
“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,” a statement from Ontario Premier Doug Ford reads. “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.”
As of July 8 over 77 per cent of Ontarians ages 12 and older have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and over 50 per cent have received their second dose. From June 29 to July 5, the provincial case rate decreased by 23.3 per cent.
The threshold to move into Step 3 of reopening was to have 70 to 80 per cent of adults with one dose and 25 per cent with two doses for at least two weeks.
At a press conference on Friday, Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario's chief medical officer of health, stressed that masking rules will remain in place.
"This is the because of the ongoing threat of the Delta strain of COVID," he explained. "Face coverings will also be required in some outdoor public settings as well."
"The variants of concern are what keep me up at night, especially the Delta. I am very concerned that it’s more transmissible, that it may tend to have higher risk of hospitalization. The good news for Ontario is that we’re continuing to protect those that are most vulnerable."
What is allowed in Step 3 of Ontario's reopening plan?
Under Step 3 of Ontario's reopening plan, the following activities are allowed:
Outdoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 100 people
Indoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 25 people
Indoor dining permitted with no limits on the number of patrons per table with physical distancing and other restrictions still in effect
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)
Indoor religious services, rites or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services permitted with physical distancing
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)
Indoor meeting and event spaces permitted to operate with physical distancing and other restrictions still in effect and capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity or 1,000 people, (whichever is less)
Essential and non-essential retail with 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 per cent capacity indoors and 75 per cent capacity outdoors
Concert venues, cinemas, and theatres permitted to operate at up to 50 per cent capacity indoors or a maximum limit of 1,000 people for seated events (whichever is less) 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
Ontarians, including health experts, took to social media to respond to the province's reopening news.