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Reopening takes Step forward just in time for Canada Day

July 2, 2021   ·   0 Comments

Canada Day is normally a day for some time off, but for many businesses this year, it is a time to hit the ground running.

Ontario moved to Step 2 of its Roadmap to Reopen on Wednesday, June 30.

This latest step, which was announced June 24, will allow more businesses to re-open as the number of new COVID-19 cases continue to decline.

“Because of the tireless work of our health care heroes, and the record-setting success of our vaccine rollout, we are able to move into Step Two ahead of schedule on June 30 with the support of our public health experts,” said Premier Doug Ford in a statement. “We are proceeding safely with the re-opening of our province and will continue to work around the clock until the job is done.”

Under Step 2, limited indoor services are allowed to move ahead, along with the resumption of more outdoor activities.

Outdoor social gatherings and organized public events are now limited to up to 25 people, while indoor social gatherings and organized public events will be limited to a maximum of five.

Essential and other select retail is now permitted at 50 per cent capacity, with non-essential retail limited at 25 per cent capacity. There is also a 25 per cent capacity limit on personal care services where face coverings can be worn at all times – meaning now is the time to book that elusive haircut.

Outdoor dining is now allowed with up to six people per table, while indoor religious services, including weddings and funerals, will be permitted at up to 25 per cent capacity of the designated room.

As for staying active, outdoor fitness classes will be limited to people who can maintain three metres of physical distance. Non-contact outdoor sports can proceed with no specified limit on number of people or teams participating. Outdoor sports facilities can reopen at 25 per cent capacity, as can outdoor fairs, festivals, rural exhibitions and other activities.

Outdoor concert venues, theatres and cinemas can operate at 56 per cent capacity as well.

“Due to a continued improvement in key indicators, Ontario is ready to enter Step Two of our Roadmap, allowing us to safely and gradually ease public health measures while continuing to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Health Minister Christine Elliott. “Thank you to the Ontarians who rolled up their sleeves to help us reach this exciting milestone. Every dose administered brings us one step closer to the things we’ve missed, so please sign up to receive the vaccine when it is your turn.”

Vaccines were key in acceleration of the previously-announced timeline to get to Step 2.

The Province set the goal posts at a minimum of 70 per cent of adults receiving their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 20 per cent of the eligible population with their second doses for at least two weeks. As of Wednesday, June 23, this rate stood at 76 per cent of eligible Ontarians receiving their first dose and 29 per cent with their second.

“Before entering Step Two, the Province also needed to see continued improvement in key public health and health care indicators, including hospitalizations, ICU occupancy and the weekly cases incidence rates,” said the Ontario Government. “After entering Step One, during the period of June 11 to 17, the Provincial case rate decreased by 24.6 per cent. As of June 22, the number of patients with COVID-19 in ICUs is 305, including 10 patients from Manitoba, as compared to 450 two weeks ago. The Province expects these positive trends to continue over the coming days before entering Step Two.”

By Brock Weir

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