COVID-19 Ontario reopening: 'It's just a matter of a day,' Ontario Premier Doug Ford says ministers working on accelerated plan to open doors

·4-min read

While Ontario is ramping up the administration of first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines, the premier continues to tease early entry into the next stage of reopening.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Premier Doug Ford said Ontario's Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Christine Elliott, is working with the province's chief medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams, on the date to ease restrictions in the province.

"It's just a matter of day," Ford said in response to being asked when Ontarians can expect to hear an update on an accelerated reopening plan.

"We'll be talking to cabinet but we'll also be speaking with Dr. Williams...and Minister Elliott's in conversations with the health table, and then we'll get their advice and then we're going to get moving as soon as possible."

What is the threshold Ontario has to meet to ease restriction?

According to the province's reopening plan, Ontario can move into Step 2 when 70 per cent of adults are vaccinated with one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 20 have received both doses.

It also outlines that Ontario can move into Step 3 when 70 to 80 per cent of adults have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 25 are fully vaccinated.

To date, 25 per cent of adult Ontarians have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and more than 75 per cent of adults have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The province also planned that the Ontarians would remain in each step of the plan for at least 21 days.

What is allowed in each step of Ontario's reopening plan?

In Step 1 of Ontario's reopening plan, people in the province can have outdoor social gatherings and events for up to 10 people and outdoor dining with four people per table. Non-essential retail capacity is capped at 15 per cent and essential retail capacity is limited to 25 per cent.

The next two steps of the reopening plan would allow for the following resumption of services and eased restrictions:

Step 2

  • Outdoor social gatherings and organized public events for up to 25 people

  • Indoor social gatherings and organized public events for up to 5 people

  • Outdoor dining for up to 6 people per table

  • Essential retail capacity at 50%

  • Non-essential retail capacity at 25%

  • Larger indoor religious services, rites, or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services with capacity limits

  • Overnight camps

  • Personal care services where face coverings can be worn at all times

  • Outdoor meeting and event spaces

  • Outdoor amusement and water parks

  • Outdoor sports games, leagues and events

  • Outdoor cinemas, performing arts, live music events and attractions

Step 3

  • Larger indoor and outdoor social gatherings and organized public events

  • Indoor dining

  • Essential and non-essential retail with limited capacity

  • Larger indoor religious services, rites or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services with capacity limits

  • Indoor meeting and event spaces

  • Indoor sports and recreational facilities

  • Indoor seated events

  • Indoor attractions and cultural amenities

  • Casino and bingo halls

  • Other outdoor activities from Step 2 permitted to operate indoors

Reactions to Ontario's reopening plan

As Ontario continues to see more vaccine coverage, people in the province, including medical experts and local officials, have commented on the early reopening, many in support of the possible accelerated approach.

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