This is when Doug Ford says Ontario will progress past Step 3 of reopening
It's been two weeks since Ontario entered the third and final step of its Roadmap to Reopen, and with things appearing to be going pretty smoothly, residents are patiently awaiting any news of the further easing of health and safety restrictions.
Though there is no Step 4 for the province to go into, the graduation out of Step 3 will be notable, with expanded business operations, capacity limits and essentially a return to normal.
But when will that happen?
Looks like Ontario is in decent shape from Step 3. How far away is a safe step 4 (August 6th?) & also what does that look like? Larger capacity limits? Voluntary mask wearing?— Mathew Emanuele (@EmanueleMathew) July 29, 2021
Based on the province's framework, each step is supposed to last at least 21 days, after which health officials and politicians assess key indicators such as ICU admissions, new case numbers, the pace of the vaccination rollout and the like.
But the government has defied its own rules, expediting our entry into all steps thus far, meaning that, as Health Minister Christine Elliott has stated, proposed dates for moving forward are only "approximate."
There have also been specific vaccination targets for each step — for a departure from Step 3, these were 80 per cent of eligible residents 12 and over with at least shot and 75 per cent with two. But, the province's new Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore suggested days ago that these thresholds be raised due to the Delta variant.
"If we remain at around 20 per cent of the population unvaccinated we won't build a community immunity and you'll get breakthrough infections in those individuals that are vaccinated because not all individuals will get full protection from the vaccine," he said in a press conference July 20, indicating a goal of 90 per cent full immunization would be better.
I am still getting used to and comfortable with stage 3 so that's cool with me.— Maggie #BlackLivesMatter #FreePalestine (@disabilityharpy) July 29, 2021
Premier Doug Ford himself fielded a question on the matter during a media briefing at Ontario Place on Friday, saying that the Aug. 6 date — 21 days after Step 3 commenced — is not set in stone, which has already been indicated.
"We're going to hit our targets first, we aren't going to set a certain date. As you see, we're really trying to get as many people vaccinated as possible," Ford said.
"Whenever we hit those main targets — we'll hit them, I'll say probably in a couple of weeks, maybe sooner."
Ford also referenced the original target of having 75 per cent of eligible people fully vaxxed, with no public health units with less than 70 per cent double dosed.
"We're going to achieve that," he reassured the public.
As per the latest numbers, approximately 81 per cent of eligible Ontarians 12 and over have received at least one dose of a Health Canada-approved COVID-19 inoculation, with 69 per cent having received both jabs.
#DYK that there is “no anticipated Step 4” when it comes to a full reopening in Ontario!— CEEDA (@CEEDACanadaEast) July 30, 2021
Officials noted that only a few measures will remain in place, such as signage and safety plans for businesses.
What do you think?#reopening #OntAg #smallbusiness #opinion pic.twitter.com/VSsfdMCY9y
When speaking of what comes after Step 3 earlier this month, Moore had stated that we can look forward to "a full opening" with "some public health measures, if appropriate" — i.e. in the event of a spike in cases or outbreaks in some settings.
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