step 3 ontario

Pressure mounts for Ontario government to provide details about Step 3

The Ontario government is facing mounting pressure from industry leaders and municipal officials to provide a concrete, detailed reopening plan for Step 3 of the Roadmap to Reopen, including from Toronto Mayor John Tory. 

Speaking during the city's press briefing Wednesday, Tory said he's been in touch with the province repeatedly about the importance of receiving guidelines so businesses and individuals can prepare in advance of the next reopening stage.

"This clear guidance will help ensure that industries and businesses are prepared to reopen whenever Step 3 arrives," Tory said.

"This includes theatre and music venues and other similar venues which are simply unable to do the advanced planning they have to do to put on a performance, or offer a concert, or provide work to artists who badly need that work, without the information that's needed from the province. I know that they are very eager to get this information."

Based on the rules outlined in the reopening framework, Ontario can only enter Step 3 after at least 21 days in the previous stage. While this is far from set in stone and could always be altered at the advice of public health officials, as it currently stands, the province will enter Step 3 on July 21.

Seeing as that's just two weeks away, businesses and industries that can reopen in this stage — including but not limited to performance venues, casinos and museums — are understandably eager to begin preparing after being shuttered for months.

"If you think about it, you can't book an artist to have a concert if you don't know how many tickets you can sell in the venue in question, and this is the kind of guideline people are waiting for," Tory said Wednesday.

Some officials have even gone so far as to call for Step 3 to come early, before the required 21-day period is up, just as Step 2 did. But Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore made it clear last week that he does not want to see the interval shortened because "we must learn what's going internationally and the risk of Delta spreading."

On Wednesday, Health Minister Christine Elliot said the small details regarding capacity limits and other restrictions for businesses in Step 3 have yet to be ironed out, but that excuse isn't flying with Tory.

"This information simply has to come soon if we want to see these people back in business and back to work," said the mayor during his press conference.

"These guidelines are past due. I've been talking about this for some time, just as these artists and musicians have been talking about it for a long time as well, because they need this information to make their plans."

Lead photo by

Jesse Milns

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