ontario reopen

Here's why Ontario isn't in Step 1 of reopening despite being past the 60% vaccination rate

Ontario is finally on the road to reopening once again after months of rigid lockdown, with the province set to enter its new 3-step plan on June 14.

Though the public is thrilled with the news and are now anticipating a somewhat normal summer, many experts and residents alike are wondering why the government is still waiting more than two weeks to implement the first phase given that we've already reached the vaccination threshold to do so.

Premier Doug Ford and his team announced on Friday that a major public health milestone had been reached, with 65 per cent of adults provincewide now having received at least one dose of the immunization against COVID-19.

And yet, Ontario remains under a full emergency shutdown and stay-at-home order even though the first step of the new Roadmap to Reopening is due to come into effect when at least 60 per cent of citizens 18+ have their first dose.

As part of Step 1, patio dining, outdoor fitness classes, non-essential retail and more would resume operations with restrictions, gathering limits will expand to 10 outdoors, and more.

When questioned on the subject during a media briefing on Friday morning in which he stated that public health would soon begin administering second doses, Ford indicated that his leadership is sticking to that June 14 date.

"There's more than just the 65 per cent [vaccination rate] and the second doses," he told reporters. "We have to look at the ICU capacity — and thank goodness we see it coming down — and we have to look at the positivity rate."

Such key health indicators, along with daily new case numbers, are the same reason some health experts have hinted that we may in fact be able to loosen restrictions and reopen businesses earlier than expected; Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said just days ago that "it is possible that we could reach the level of getting to Stage 1 before June 14."

Meanwhile, things like case numbers and ICU admission rates are indeed falling.

During his presser on Friday, Ford also reiterated, though, that he does not want to repeat past mistakes of opening things up too quickly and seeing case numbers spike, leading to only more forced closures soon after, which is something he has been highly criticized for.

"It kills me to keep these businesses closed ... there's light at the end of the tunnel. We're going to be opening up but we're going to open up very cautiously and very carefully because I do not want to have happen what happened before, where all of a sudden cases go up," he said.

"I remember back in March, [elected officials] were all saying 'open up, open up,' but you know something? As soon as those numbers went up, everyone just dove for cover. So we're going to make sure we're going to be cautious."

Lead photo by

A Great Capture

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