step 3 ontario

Ontario is on track to enter Step 3 on schedule and here's what will reopen

Step 3 in Ontario is just around the corner. People rushed to make appointments for haircuts and planned for outdoor gatherings after moving into Step 2 of Ontario's reopening plan this week, and now it's looking good for Step 3 which means making bigger plans and more places opening.

Ontario moved into Step 2 on Wednesday, June 30 in the province's three-step reopening plan, which meant personal care services could open, outdoor gathering limits went up to 25 people and retail stores could increase capacity, hopefully meaning shorter lines.

To enter Step 3, we need 70 to 80 per cent of adults vaccinated with one dose and 25 per cent vaccinated with two doses.

Ontario hit this target several days ago and people continue to get vaccinated at a rapid rate — as of July 2, 5.2 million people were fully vaccinated in the province. Toronto vaccinated a record-breaking number of people in one day at the Scotiabank Arena.

But under the plan, the province is to remain at each step for at least 21 days to evaluate any impacts on key public health and health system indicators.

It can take up to two weeks for COVID-19 vaccinations to offer protection against the virus, the province guidelines state.

There are also concerns about the Delta variant becoming the dominant strain of COVID-19 in circulation in Ontario and the province's new chief medical officer, Dr. Kieran Moore is watching closely to understand the impacts of the highly contagious variant in Israel and Europe.

So the earliest we could enter Step 3 would be July 20.

Once in Step 3, things will start to seem a lot more normal.

While patios are great in the summer, we can finally get back to eating inside restaurants.

Large indoor and outdoor social gatherings and public events will be back on — including weddings but only at 25 per cent capacity. Unfortunately, many of the big summer public events, which take months to plan, were cancelled earlier this year.

Retail stores will be up to 50 per cent capacity.

Indoor sports and recreational facilities — including gyms will also open under Step 3. Things won’t totally be back to normal, there will capacity limits and guests will be spaced two metres apart (unless they are playing a sport).

Although drive-in theatres have made a come-back, under Step 3, indoor seated events (movie theatres) along with casinos and bingo halls will be back in business, with limits of course.

So while it is not completely back to pre-pandemic times, things are moving toward a return to normal.

Lead photo by

Fareen Karim

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