Most of Ontario will be entering Step 2 of the province’s three-step COVID-19 reopening plan on June 30.
The move means barbers and salons will be able to open next Wednesday, two days earlier than expected. Capacity limits for retail stores and patios will also expand.
Outdoor gathering capacity will increase to 25 people while indoor gatherings will be allowed with up to five people.
“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.”
As of June 22, the number of patients with COVID-19 in intensive care in the province is down to 305 from 450 two weeks ago.
The province says they expect COVID indicators to continue to trend in the right direction in the days leading up to Step 2.
The Region of Waterloo will be delaying its move into the next step due to a surge in the Delta variant in the region.
“To give our residents more time to be vaccinated, to avoid having to take a step back, and based on our situation at this time, I anticipate the Region of Waterloo will be able to move into Step 2 in mid-July,” said Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, Waterloo’s Medical Officer of Health.
“This approach gives us the best chance to hold onto the gains we have made.”
What’s allowed in Step 2?
- Maximum 25 people for outdoor gatherings
- Maximum 5 people for indoor gatherings
Religious services, rites or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services (does not apply to receptions)
- Indoor permitted at 25% capacity of the room
- Outdoor permitted with capacity limited to permit physical distancing of 2 metres
- Essential retail at 50% capacity
- Non-essential retail at 25% capacity
- Open at 50% capacity
Restaurants and bars
- Outdoor dining with 6 people per table and other restrictions
- Karaoke permitted with restrictions (outdoor only)
Personal care services
- Open at 25% capacity to maximum of 5 people
- Appointment required
- Services that require the removal of a face covering not permitted
Sports and recreational fitness facilities
- Outdoor sports leagues open
- Training for professional or amateur athletes and/or competitions
- Closed for indoor use except for high-performance athletes and day camps
Personal fitness and training
- Outdoor fitness classes and personal training – with limit on the number of patrons, 3 metres distance
Outdoor recreational amenities
- Open with restrictions
- Outdoor pools, splash pads, spray pads, whirlpools, wading pools and water slides open
Meeting and event spaces
- Outdoor spaces open at 25% capacity and other restrictions
- Indoor meeting and event spaces closed, with exceptions for certain purposes, including for viewing for potential booking of a future event
Roadmap to Reopen
Step 2 required 70 per cent of adults with one dose and 20 per cent fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
As of Wednesday, 76 per cent of Ontario adults have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and roughly 27 per cent are now fully vaccinated.
That vaccination rate matches the 70 to 80 per cent that is outlined for Step 3 of the reopening plan.
Ontario may remain in Step Two for a period of approximately 21 days to allow the most recent vaccinations to reach their full effectiveness and to evaluate any impacts of moving to Step Two on key public health and health care indicators. When it is determined to be safe, the province will promptly move to Step Three of the Roadmap to Reopen.
Premier Doug Ford had previously hinted that he would like to move to Step 2 a little bit sooner than originally planned.
Dr. David Williams, the province’s top doctor, had appeared reluctant to significantly speed up the reopening plan that has each stage separated by 21 days, citing the risk of a virus resurgence with a more infectious variant spreading.
He said last week, however, that he would consider moving to Step 2 a few days ahead of schedule.
Williams will give his last COVID-19 update as chief medical officer of health on Thursday. The province tabled a motion last month that would replace Williams after more than five years in the role.
There were 255 new cases of COVID-19 in Ontario on Wednesday and 11 more deaths linked to the virus.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said there are 57 new cases in Toronto, 53 in the Region of Waterloo, and 25 in Peel Region.