The Province originally said that Ontario would move into Step 3 of re-opening once 70 to 80% of adults had received one dose of vaccine and 25% had received two. Now that 77% of people 12 and over have received one dose and 50% have received two doses – that threshold has been met already. Also required were a lower ICU occupancy rate and generally a low new case rate and these have also happened. The numbers for our region (HKPR) are not quite that good but may well be soon. Given the good results, the Province has announced that we will move into Step 3 five days earlier on July 16 (at 12:01 am) and has released detailed regulations – so let’s look at what we can now do (that is, starting July 16).
- Larger indoor and outdoor gatherings will be allowed – e.g. Cinemas and Theatres can open at 50% capacity – e.g. the Loft will be allowed 30 people.
- Gyms/fitness clubs can reopen for indoor use
- Restaurants can provide in-person dining inside their premises – no limits on capacity other than 2 metre spacing.
- Capacity limits for businesses and stores will be eased – it’s now whatever is required to maintain 2 metre spacing.
- Physical distancing rules will still apply
- Masks/face coverings must continue to be worn inside public places
Step Three focuses on the resumption of additional indoor services with larger numbers of people and restrictions in place. This includes, but is not limited to:
[Quoted from Press Release with my clarifications in square brackets]
- Outdoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 100 people with limited exceptions;
- Indoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 25 people;
- Indoor religious services, rites or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services permitted with physical distancing; [with up to 25 people]
- Indoor dining permitted with no limits on the number of patrons per table with physical distancing and other restrictions still in effect; [masks except when seated; must record names and contact information except at places like McDonalds where you pay before getting food]
- Indoor sports and recreational fitness facilities to open subject to a maximum 50 per cent capacity of the indoor space. Capacity for indoor spectators is 50 per cent of the usual seating capacity or 1,000 people, whichever is less. Capacity for outdoor spectators is 75 per cent of the usual seating capacity or 15,000 people, whichever is less;
- Indoor meeting and event spaces permitted to operate with physical distancing and other restrictions still in effect and capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity or 1,000 people, (whichever is less);
- Essential and non-essential retail with capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres;
- Personal care services, including services requiring the removal of a face covering, with capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres; [Appointments still required]
- Museums, galleries, historic sites, aquariums, zoos, landmarks, botanical gardens, science centres, casinos/bingo halls, amusement parks, fairs and rural exhibitions, festivals, with capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity indoors and 75 per cent capacity outdoors;
- Concert venues, cinemas, and theatres permitted to operate at:
- up to 50 per cent capacity indoors or a maximum limit of 1,000 people for seated events (whichever is less) [Everyone with masks].
- up to 75 per cent capacity outdoors or a maximum limit of 5,000 people for unseated events (whichever is less); and up to 75 per cent capacity outdoors or a maximum of 15,000 people for events with fixed seating (whichever is less).
- Real estate open houses with capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres; and
- Indoor food or drink establishments where dance facilities are provided, including nightclubs and restobars, permitted up to 25 per cent capacity or up to a maximum limit of 250 people (whichever is less).
Fully Re-open (well almost)
The province will remain in Step Three for at least 21 days and until 80 per cent of the eligible population aged 12 and over has received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 75 per cent have received their second, with no public health unit having less than 70 per cent of their eligible population aged 12 and over fully vaccinated.
So if too many don’t want to be vaccinated, they are holding up the fully re-opening date.
Other key public health and health care indicators must also continue to remain stable. Upon meeting these thresholds, the vast majority of public health and workplace safety measures, including capacity limits for indoor and outdoor settings and limits for social gatherings, will be lifted. Only a small number of measures will remain in place, including the requirement for passive screening, such as posting a sign, and businesses requiring a safety plan.
This magic “wide-open” date will be July 16 plus 21 days – that is, August 6. Here’s hoping.
I see that already, Ken Prue has announced the Loft will reopen July 20. Stay tuned for announcements of other venues or try this page for the latest on entertainment venues.
- Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit – Update from HKPR
- Ontario Government Press Release
- Official Regulations – pdf