Doug Ford announces plan to lift Ontario COVID restrictions and here's the full timeline
Ontario will officially begin reopening again fewer than two weeks from today after nearly a month under yet another round of heavy COVID-19 lockdown restrictions that forced the closures of gyms, cinemas, indoor restaurants, bars and more.
"The evidence tells us that the measures we put in place to blunt transmission of Omicron are working," said Premier Doug Ford on Thursday, referring to the provincewide public health measures that went into place on Jan. 5, 2022. "We can be confident that the worst is behind us and that we are now in a position to cautiously and gradually ease public health measures.
Ontario reverted back to back to Step 2 of the government's Roadmap to Reopen at 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 5, at which point schools, bars, gyms, restaurants, cinemas, museums and concert venues were ordered to shut down completely. Retail stores, hair salons, libraries and other business types were given a capacity limit of 50 per cent and social gathering limits were lowered back down to just ten people outdoors, five inside.
While difficult for business owners who've now endured multiple mandatory shutdown periods, the measures appear to have worked, at least by the province's estimation.
"As a result of the additional public health measures enacted on January 5, 2022, the province is beginning to see signs of stabilization in key public health and health system indicators," reads a release issued Thursday morning.
"Per cent positivity has fallen and new admissions to hospital have started to stabilize with length of stay shortening considerably. Over the coming days and weeks, these trends are expected to continue, allowing the province to begin cautiously easing public health measures."
We won't see everything go back to normal on Jan. 26 — the earliest date Ontario could have moved beyond Step 2, by the roadmap's own 21-day-per-stage rule — but shuttered businesses will finally get to reopen their doors by the end of this month.
"In the absence of concerning trends in public health and health care indicators, Ontario will follow a cautious and phased approach to lifting public health measures, with 21 days between each step," announced the government today.
Below, per the Province of Ontario, is the stated timeline for what will reopen when, should everything roll out as planned. Please note that enhanced proof of vaccination, mandatory face coverings and other requirements will continue to apply in existing settings until further notice.
On Monday, Jan. 31, 2022 at 12:01 a.m, Ontario will make a number of changes to its current set of public health restrictions by:
On Monday, Feb. 21, 2022 at 12:01 a.m, Ontario will move to the following rule set:
On Monday, March 14, 2022 at 12:01 a.m, the government will change its restrictions once again by:
The province says that further details, including all public health and workplace safety measures, "will be shared as Ontario progresses through its reopening plan."
"The months ahead will require continued vigilance, as we don't want to cause any further disruption to people's everyday lives," said the province's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore, on Thursday.
"We must continue to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in our communities by following the measures in place and by vaccinating those who have not yet received their doses."
Premier of Ontario
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