victoria day 2021

Here's what you're allowed to do in Ontario during the Victoria Day long weekend

The Victoria Day 2021 long weekend has arrived, and for Ontario, so has a bit of hope for a summer without the prohibitive pandemic lockdown restrictions we've suffered under for many months.

Premier Doug Ford and his team made a somewhat surprising announcement about opening things up in the province as soon as May 22, giving eager residents more ways to enjoy the holiday weekend and the beautiful summery weather that's coming with it.

But our new three-step roadmap to reopening contains a lot of information, and has left some people confused about what exactly is opening up and when.

Many were assuming that upon the expiration of the extended stay-at-home order and emergency shutdown on June 2, at least some businesses would get to open their doors to the public once again, but the government's new timeline has proven different than expected.

Though some things are opening this weekend, some won't be for months, and as much as we'd all love a nice patio drink and meal in the coming days, we won't be able to take part in those activities just yet.

But, as of Saturday, residents can do a slew of other things that were previously off limits, including play a round of golf at a course (if they can manage to book a tee time), hit the tennis courts or soccer fields in their local park, or even launch their boat in traditional May 2-4 style.

People are also now permitted to gather outside with up to five people from different households, a bit of an upgrade from previous gathering limits, under which outdoor get-togethers were limited to only those who lived together — so get those BBQs fired up.

Unfortunately, some highly anticipated outdoor activities typical of the season, such as camping, are still off-limits for at least another few weeks.

Ontarians can look forward to the resumption of outdoor dining and fitness classes, expanded gathering limits, and the opening of things like non-essential retail stores, public pools, campgrounds, and even zoos and botanical gardens as part of Step One of reopening, which is expected to come during the week of June 14 based on vaccination rates.

And from there, we will gradually be opening up further as soon as every 21 days, and will hopefully indeed get to relish in a summer that feels much closer to normal than the past six months have.

Until then, people can take advantage of newly reopened outdoor facilities, though everyone is still being encouraged to physically distance, mask up, avoid non-essential travel between regions or elsewhere, maintain good hand hygeine and keep away from crowded places.

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