Ontario will begin to reopen the economy in mid-June so long as vaccination rates remain constant. In the meantime, some outdoor activities will be permitted to resume as of Saturday, under the province’s new three-step reopening plan.
The plan will move in lockstep with vaccination rates, as well as decreased daily COVID-19 case counts and lower hospitalization rates. Premier Doug Ford announced Thursday the plan allows many outdoor recreation facilities to reopen, such as golf courses, tennis courts, and marinas, and increases the number of people permitted in an outdoor gathering to five.
There is no timeline for the resumption of in-person learning. All elementary and secondary schools will continue with remote learning as health officials continue to assess data.
It is expected the first of three steps will come into effect the week of June 14. Once 60 per cent of adult Ontarians have gotten at least their first dose of a vaccine, outdoor gatherings will be allowed to reach a size of ten people. Outdoor dining will be permitted to resume, with a maximum of four patrons per table. Step One also allows non-essential retail to resume, with a limit of 15 per cent of usual store capacity. Further details below.
Step Two comes into play once 70 per cent of adults have received their first dose and 20 per cent have received their second; there would be a further expansion of outdoor activities and a resumption of limited indoor services with small numbers of masked individuals. This includes outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people, outdoor sports and leagues, personal care services such as hairstyling where face coverings can be worn and with capacity limits, as well as indoor religious services, rites or ceremonies at 15 per cent capacity. Further details below.
Before the province could enter step three of this plan, 70 to 80 per cent of Ontarians will have to have had their first shot, and 25 per cent a second dose. Step Three would expand access to indoor dining, museums, libraries, indoor recreation facilities, casinos, and bingo halls. Capacity limits would be in place, and masks would continue to be required in these settings. Further details below.
“As a result of the strict public health measures we introduced to stop the spread of COVID-19 variants, we are seeing a steady improvement in our situation as ICU and hospital numbers begin to stabilize,” said Premier Ford. “With millions of Ontarians having received at least their first dose of vaccine we can now begin the process of a slow and cautious re-opening of the province in full consultation with our public health professionals.”
Premier Ford’s announcement came just hours following the release of new modelling data that showed reopening on June 2 as planned would lead to a slight increase in cases through to the middle of the month. The same data showed a much steadier decline in cases through June and July if the order were extended two weeks.
What is included in Step One?
- Outdoor gatherings up to 10 people;
- Outdoor dining up to 4 people per table;
- Outdoor fitness classes, personal training and sports training up to 10 people;
- Essential retail at 25 per cent capacity and can sell all goods (including discount and big box);
- Non-essential retail at 15 per cent capacity;
- Retail stores in malls closed unless the stores have a street facing entrance;
- Outdoor religious services, rites and ceremonies with capacity limited to permit 2 metres’ physical distancing;
- Horse racing and motor speedways without spectators;
- Outdoor horse riding;
- Outdoor pools, splash pads and wading pools with capacity limited to permit 2 metres’ physical distancing;
- Outdoor zoos, landmarks, historic sites, and botanical gardens with capacity limits;
- Campsites, campgrounds and short-term rentals; and
- Ontario Parks.
What is included in Step Two?
- Outdoor gatherings up to 25 people;
- Indoor gatherings up to 5 people and other restrictions;
- Outdoor dining up to 6 people per table;
- Outdoor sports and leagues;
- Overnight camps;
- Outdoor meeting and event spaces with capacity limits;
- Non-essential retail at 25 per cent capacity; essential retail at 50 per cent capacity;
- Personal care services where face coverings can be worn at all times with capacity limits;
- Outdoor cinemas and performing arts with capacity limits;
- Horse racing and motor speedways for spectators with capacity limits;
- Outdoor tour and guide services with capacity limits;
- Indoor religious services, rites or ceremony gatherings at 15 per cent capacity;
- Public libraries with capacity limits;
- Outdoor waterparks and amusement parks with capacity limits; and
- Fairs and rural exhibitions with capacity limits.
What is included in Step Three?
- Outdoor gatherings with larger capacity limits;
- Indoor gatherings with larger capacity limits and other restrictions;
- Indoor dining with capacity limits;
- Indoor sports and recreational fitness facilities with capacity limits;
- Indoor meeting and event spaces with capacity limits;
- Essential and non-essential retail capacity expanded;
- Personal care services with capacity expanded and other restrictions;
- Indoor cinemas and performing arts facilities with capacity limits;
- Indoor and outdoor religious services, rites or ceremony gatherings with capacity limited to permit 2 metres’ physical distancing;
- Indoor museums and art galleries with capacity limits;
- Indoor zoos, aquariums, waterparks and amusement parks with capacity limits;
- Casinos and bingo halls with capacity limits; and
- Other outdoor activities from Step Two permitted to operate indoors.