step 2 ontario

Here's the official list of everything reopening in Toronto for Step 2

Barber shops! Nail salons! Hair studios! Malls! Residents of Ontario will finally be able to access all of these things (and more) after months upon months of strict lockdown measures beginning next Wednesday, June 30 at 12:01 a.m.

Doug Ford's provincial government announced the news Thursday morning, confirming rumours that Ontario would indeed be moving past the first step of its three-phase, post-COVID reopening plan a few days earlier than expected.

We have the remarkable acceleration of vaccines being administered to thank for that; in fact, as of Wednesday, the province had surpassed its vaccination percentage thresholds not only for Step 2, but for Step 3.

Ford and company made clear on Thursday that, despite the early success of the vaccine rollout, we wouldn't be bypassing the second phase of reopening altogether. They did, however, leave some wiggle room for how long it will take to move into Step 3.

Under the existing Roadmap to Reopen framework, the entire province is supposed to stay in each "step" for at least 21 days before moving to the next. That didn't happen this time (we entered step one on June 11) and might not happen next time, either.

"While the province has surpassed Step 3 vaccination targets, Ontario may remain in Step 2 for a period of approximately 21 days to allow the most recent vaccinations to reach their full effectiveness and to evaluate any impacts of moving to Step 2 on key public health and health care indicators," notes a release from the government.

"When it is determined to be safe, the province will promptly move to Step 3 of the Roadmap to Reopen."

Under Step 3, we can expect things like indoor fitness centres to reopen and activities such as indoor dining to resume — but first, in the near future, we get to enjoy the freedoms bestowed upon us under Step 2.

Here's a non-exhaustive list of what's reopening and changing for Toronto and (most of) Ontario when Step 2 comes into effect next Wednesday:

  • The capacity limit for outdoor social gatherings and organized public events will rise from 10 people to a maximum of 25 people.
     
  • Indoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to five people will be permitted again for the first time all summer.
     
  • Capacity limits for "essential and other select retailers" will be raised from 25 per cent to 50 per cent.
     
  • Non-essential retail stores will be permitted to run at 25 per cent capacity, opposed to the previous 15 per cent designated under Step 1.
     
  • Personal care services where face coverings can be worn at all times will be allowed to reopen at 25 per cent capacity, with other restrictions in place. This includes hair salons and barber shops, manicure and pedicure salons, aesthetician services, piercing services, tanning salons, spas and tattoo studios.
     
  • Outdoor (patio) dining limits will rise from four people per table to six people per table, "with exceptions for larger households and other restrictions."
     
  • Indoor religious services, rites, or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services will be permitted at up to 25 per cent capacity of the particular room where the event takes place.
     
  • Outdoor fitness classes will go from a maximum of 10 people to as many people as can maintain three metres of physical distance between them.
     
  • Outdoor sports without contact or modified to avoid contact will resume, restrictions in place, with no specified limit on the number of people or teams participating.
     
  • Overnight camps for children "operating in a manner consistent with the safety guidelines produced by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health" will reopen.
     
  • Outdoor sport facilities with spectators can reopen with a 25 per cent capacity limit in place.
     
  • Outdoor concert venues, theatres and cinemas can operate with audiences at 25 per cent capacity.
     
  • Outdoor horse racing, motor speedways, fairs, rural exhibitions and festivals are all permitted to operate at 25 per cent capacity and with other, sector-specific restrictions in place.

"Due to the continued commitment of Ontarians adhering to public health measures and going out to get vaccinated, we have seen our key health indicators continue to improve across the province," said Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams, who is retiring today.

"While we can now begin preparing to ease public health measures under the Roadmap, the fight against COVID-19 is not over and we must continue adhering to the public health advice and measures currently in place to maintain this great progress."

Lead photo by

Sun Flowers


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