Here's when Ontario's current lockdown period is expected to end
When will Ontario's latest lockdown end? It's a question many are asking as the province once again deals with harsher restrictions amid rising cases of COVID-19 nearly two years after the pandemic first hit.
Unfortunately, it's a near-impossible question to answer.
What we can say, based on the government's own guidelines, is that Ontario is scheduled to stay in a modified version of Step 2 for at least 21 days before moving on.
Has the government broken this rule before? Sure — on both sides of the deadline. Back in June, we entered Step 1 of the Ford government's Roadmap to Reopening three days ahead of the "mandatory" 21-day period. We then moved on to Step 2 and Step 3 a few days short of the stated timeline as well.
From that point in early July, the province languished in Step 3 for much, much longer than expected, only starting on our journey to exit the roadmap for good (or so we thought at the time) in October.
Now, as of January 5 at 12:01 a.m., it's back to a modified version of Step 2 to mitigate the spread of the highly-contagious Omicron variant.
Once again, we've been given a timeline of "at least 21 days," which would in theory make Ontario's expected reopening date January 26 of 2022 (should public health trends go in the right direction and with enough force, of course).
"In response to recent trends that show an alarming increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, the Ontario government, in consultation with the chief medical officer of health, is temporarily moving the province into Step Two of its Roadmap to Reopen with modifications that take into account the province’s successful vaccination efforts," announced the province on Monday.
"These time-limited measures will help blunt transmission and prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed as the province continues to accelerate its booster dose rollout."
Students are back to 100 per cent remote learning in the meantime, while indoor restaurants, gyms and more are closed. Gathering limits have been lowered back down to five people indoors and 10 outside and a 50 per cent capacity limit is in place for retail stores, personal care services, libraries and outdoor attractions, among other settings, with restrictions in place.
As for when things will open back up again, it's anyone's guess. Officials urge all eligible Ontarians to get booster doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to best protect themselves and others from serious illness due to Omicron.
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