Ontario moves one step closer to fully reopening

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Ontario has moved one step closer to fully reopening following months of lockdowns and restrictions.

As of 12:01 a.m. Friday, the province entered Stage 3 of the reopening plan allowing once again for indoor dining, and larger social gatherings.

Lambton Medical Officer of Health Dr. Sudit Ranade said as more restrictions are lifted, people are starting to feel less anxious.

He said socializing with others is a critical part of what makes us human.

“It’s so important for just the basic integrity of our health,” said Dr. Ranade. “So people are trying to get some of that back and they’re getting it back in these pieces that feel very refreshing. I also experienced the weird and wonderful world of patio dining recently, and it’s incredibly normalizing but also there’s these moments, where you’re like oh, we haven’t done this in so long, what does this look like?”

Also in Stage 3, museums, casinos and bingo halls can reopen with capacity limits as well as cinemas and other performing arts venues.

The provincial government has indicated that if vaccination rates continue at their current pace, it’s expected most restrictions will be lifted in three weeks.

Dr. Ranade said over 54 per cent of eligible adults in Sarnia-Lambton have received both doses off a COVID-19 vaccine and 74.2 per cent have had at least one shot. He said 4.5 per cent of youth are also fully vaccinated.

“This is actually a very critical moment for all of us,” he said. We know that we need to get back to doing things, we know that that’s going to mean more cases but if that doesn’t mean more death and if that doesn’t mean significant hospitalization, are we generally ok with that, and I know that there’s some people who are, and some people who are not.”

As of Thursday in Sarnia-Lambton, there were five active infections and one COVID-positive patient at Bluewater Health.