stage 3

People in Ontario are already warning each other not to screw up Step 3 of reopening

We're about 12 hours into Step 3 of reopening in Ontario, and residents are already rejoicing at their newfound ability to eat and drink inside bars, restaurants and cafes, to hit up the gym or go to the spa, and to actually attend a movie, museum or large-scale event.

But as the public faces all of these prospective activities with an enthusiasm that has been pent up for months, people have one major message for one another: let's not screw this up.

With the memories of stringent lockdown, stay-at-home orders, mass business closures and sky-high COVID-19 case counts not all that far behind us, it makes sense that some citizens are cautious and perhaps not all that optimistic about further reopening.

After last summer's lull in viral activity, the pandemic situation escalated once more — and quickly — leading to full provincewide shutdowns in December and again in April.

Thankfully, the availability and uptake of vaccines this time around should assure us some protection, with nearly 80 per cent of eligible adults now equipped with at least one dose, and approximately 60 per cent fully vaxxed, according to numbers touted by Premier Doug Ford at a media briefing on Thursday afternoon.

Ford also assured constituents that he's 99 per cent sure we won't be facing another lockdown come fall.

"Everyone's worked hard: healthcare folks have worked hard, the people of Ontario... we just can't go back, we have to go forward. We can't afford another lockdown," he told the first in-house press gallery he's had in a while.

Even with our bragworthy vaccination rates, it's still of course important for residents to follow public health guidance and the rules set out by various businesses, including continuing to physically distance and wear masks indoors (though the federal government has said that among fully inoculated groups, this is no longer necessary).

Employing general common sense surrounding health and safety is also prudent in all situations, COVID or not.

Even with ample care and attention, we've seen how our government and others have had to firm up restrictions and backslide in their progress toward a return to normalcy.

Ontario's new Medical Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore, said this week he does expect case numbers to increase once the cooler weather arrives, in part thanks to a rise in variants as some fear a possible fourth wave.

But, of course, the vast majority of the 150-or-so new cases of the virus that the province is still seeing per day — 99 per cent for some age groups — are among the unvaccinated, meaning that as more of the population continues to get immunized, COVID stats should remain manageable at worst.

Lead photo by

A Great Capture

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