Patios to open Friday as province acts on Step One reopening ahead of schedule

Non-essential retail can also reopen with 15 per cent capacity

Beginning Friday, you will be able to raise a toast and celebrate the reopening of outdoor patios at bars and restaurants across Ontario. Non-essential retail will also be able to reopen for the first time in months with 15 per cent capacity. As well, outdoor gatherings and organized public events of up to 10 people will be allowed. It will also allow for outdoor fitness classes and personal training sessions, as well as overnight camping at campgrounds and campsites.

More information about the reopening plan can be found at Roadmap to Reopen

The original game plan of the Ford government was to launch Step One on June 14 as part of the province’s three-stage reopening plan.

“Thanks to the ongoing success of Team Ontario’s vaccine rollout and the ongoing improvements in public health trends, we are able to enter step one of the roadmap and begin to safely and cautiously lift restrictions,” Premier Doug Ford said in a press release. “The only reason we’re able to do so is because of the enormous sacrifices made by individuals, families and communities across Ontario. As we begin to enjoy the benefits of the first step in our roadmap like meeting friends on a patio or visiting your favourite local store, please do so safely by continuing to follow all public health guidelines.”

Barrie city councillor Sergio Morales, who is chair of the Downtown Business Improvement Area (BIA), says he is optimistic about the opening of outdoor dining and allowing non-essential stores to do business again.

“This is a time for the downtown businesses to re-engage their customer base and actually grow it. now that we have a beautiful and vibrant Dunlop Street in terms of construction and also lots of programming that the BIA is looking to safely implement.”

Morales says the BIA is working hard to try and bump up Open Air Dunlop to this Saturday rather than wait for the June 19 launch.

This would be the second year for Open Air Dunlop. It proved to be successful in 2020 as a way to assist local businesses during the pandemic. Dunlop Street would become pedestrian-only between Mulcaster Street and the Five Points intersection.

The decision to act early by the Ford government comes as Ontario reported Monday that there were 525 new cases of COVID-19, the lowest single-day total since September 27, 2020.

Hospitalizations and admission to intensive care units continue to decline.

The province will remain in Step One for at least 21 days to evaluate any impacts on key public health and health system indicators. If at the end of the 21 days the province has vaccinated 70 per cent of adults with one dose and 20 per cent of adults with two doses and there are continued improvements in other key public health and health system indicators, the province will move to Step Two of the Roadmap.

Step One of the Roadmap to Reopen includes but is not limited to:

  • 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 sport 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 for the purpose of rehearsing or performing 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.