ontario step 3

Ontario will enter Step 3 of reopening next week

When does Step 3 of reopening start in Ontario?

It's a question people in Toronto and all across the province have been asking for weeks — ever since we crossed the vaccination threshold to enter the third stage of Doug Ford's Roadmap to Reopen way earlier than expected.

Ontario hit the requisite vaccine target for Step 3 just over two weeks ago, when we were still in Step 1. We subsequently graduated into Step 2 on June 30, a few days earlier than expected, and well before the minimimum 21 days we were supposed to spend in each stage.

But what of the next step? The one that allows for gyms to reopen and indoor dining to resume?

Based on the government's reopening framework and the date we entered Step 2, Ontario can't technically graduate into Step 3 until July 21.

And yet, it looks like we will — five days earlier than initially planned, just one week from today, on July 16, 2021. (update: the province has now confirmed this date.)

Queen's Park journalist Richard Southern of 680News was the first to report around 10:45 a.m. this morning that Step 3 would start on July 16.

Multiple other news outlets including CTV and Global have since confirmed that the date is accurate, based on unnamed "sources."

While official details have yet to be released by the province, Southern and others report that there will be no capacity limits on retail, indoor dining or personal care services under Step 3 of reopening (though physical distancing measures will be enforced).

Gyms, movie theatres, museums, zoos, would be able to operate at 50 per cent capacity.

Ontario's provincial government has yet to make the news official, but did announce yesterday that more than 51 per cent of all Ontario adults are now fully vaccinated — double the 25 per cent needed to enter Step 3 under their existing framework.

"Health care workers across the province have administered more than 16 million doses since the start of the rollout, with Ontario ranking as one of the world’s leading jurisdictions for population percentage to have received their first dose," reads a release issued by the province on Thursday.

"To date, more than 78 per cent of adults aged 18 and over have received at least a first dose and more than 51 per cent have received both doses, ensuring the strongest possible protection against COVID-19."

Lead photo by

Jesse Milns

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