reopen ontario

Ontario could reopen sooner than planned if COVID numbers stay low

Though residents of Ontario were disappointed to find that the province wasn't actually opening up on June 2 as expected, the prospect of a somewhat normal summer complete with patiosretail stores, and even social gatherings is close enough to taste under Premier Doug Ford and his team's new Roadmap to Reopening.

After golf courses and other outdoor recreational amenities were given the green light to start up again last weekend, the next step is permitting the resumption of outdoor dining, fitness classes, non-essential shopping, and other business operations and activities with firm restrictions in place — something that is expected to happen on or around June 14.

Though the plan is based on vaccination rates among the population, other key health indicators are still being taken into account, such as daily new case numbers. 

And, based on that metric alone, the government is indicating that we could progress through the roadmap earlier than anticipated, seeing some parts of the economy open sooner than mid-next month.

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott called the projected timeline "approximate" in a press conference last week, saying that "it is possible that we could reach the level of getting to Stage 1 before June 14."

"The sooner we can get more people vaccinated, the sooner we're going to see things like case rates go down, hospitalizations go down, intensive care units not be as full, so we want everyone to please get vaccinated because that's going to make all the difference to us having a much more open summer that we can all enjoy."

An insider staffer from the Ford administration also confirmed the potential for an earlier reopening to City News, telling the outlet that they are carefully monitoring virus stats to make such decisions.

Based on the latest numbers from May 25, Ontario was reporting 1,095 new cases — just slightly over the 1,000 benchmark that health experts had previously said we'd need to reach to be able to ease present health measures.

Some officials, such as Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner, have said that they wish the reopening plan had been implemented earlier and that we do indeed graduate through it more quickly than the suggested dates.

Currently, there has to be at least 21 days before the public can move on to the next step of lessened restrictions, which are based on the following vaccination rates: 60 per cent of adults with one dose for Step 1, 70 per cent of adults with one dose/20 per cent of adults fully vaxxed for Step 2, and 70-80 per cent of adults with one dose/25 per cent fully vaxxed for Step 3.

As of the morning of May 26, Ontario had administered nearly 8.4 million doses and fully vaccinated just shy of 570,000 people among a population of approximately 14.5 million.

Lead photo by

Fareen Karim

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