Step 1 of reopening to start Friday

© Can Stock Photo / CITAlliance

In just a few days, Ontarians will be able to go into stores, go camping, and dine on patios.

The Ontario government announced on Monday that Step 1 of its Roadmap to Reopen will go into effect on Friday, June 11 at 12:01 a.m.

“Thanks to the tremendous efforts of every Ontarian, beginning June 11 we will be able to cautiously lift public health measures in the settings we know are safest,” said Health Minister Christine Elliott. “While this is exciting news, as we move to enter Step One of Ontario’s Roadmap it remains critical that all Ontarians continue to follow public health advice and roll up their sleeves to receive the vaccine.”

Under Step 1 of the provincial plan, outdoor dining will be allowed with up to four people per table, although there will be exceptions for people from larger households. The move to Step 1 will also, according to the province, allow for:

-Up to 10 people at outdoor social gatherings and organized public events
-Outdoor religious ceremonies, weddings, funerals, capped at the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres. Indoor services will also be allowed, with up to 15 per cent capacity of the particular room
-Non-essential retail at 15 per cent capacity, with no restrictions on the goods that can be sold
-Essential and other select retail at 25 per cent capacity, with no restrictions on the goods that can be sold
-Outdoor fitness classes, outdoor groups in personal training and outdoor individual/team sport practices to be permitted with up to 10 people
-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
-Outdoor attractions such as zoos, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens with capacity and other restrictions.

The government also said it will allow school boards to hold brief, outdoor end of school year celebrations. Those ceremonies will have to follow existing public health guidelines, including maintaining physical distancing.

Ontario will remain in Step 1 for at least 21 days so that officials can evalutate what impact the relaxed restrictions have on the province’s hospital capacity. After 21 days, if Ontario has vaccinated 70 per cent of its adult population with at least one dose and 20 per cent of adults with two doses, the province will move to Step 2.

“While we have reached the point where we can safely move into Step One, now is not the time to get complacent,” said Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams. “We must all remain vigilant, as the fight against COVID-19 is not over. By continuing to follow public health advice and measures we can continue to reduce transmission, safeguard health system capacity and save lives.”