The Government of Ontario revealed its new reopening plan Thursday for when the Stay-at-Home Order expires on June 2.
The plan will be tied to vaccination rates, Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliott said at a news conference from Queen’s Park. Officials will begin by lifting restrictions on outdoor recreation amenities such as tennis courts on Saturday, May 22.
“You want a transparent and predictable plan to take the guesswork out of your daily lives,” Ford said. “And that’s what this framework is designed to do.”
The roadmap contains three steps, and the province plans to wait at least 21 days between each one.
Step 1: When 60% of adults have one dose
This step would resume more outdoor activities and permit retail to reopen with restrictions. Ontario plans to enter this step around the weekend of June 14.
This is what’s allowed:
- Outdoor dining with up to four people per table
- Outdoor gatherings up to 10 people
- Essential retail at 25% capacity
- Non-essential retail at 10% capacity
- Outdoor religious services
- Day camps for kids
- Provincial parks
- Outdoor pools and splash pads
Approximately 58% of Ontarians have already received a first dose, and by the end of May 65% should have one. Ford said the wait before entering this step would allow people time to build up immunity.
Step 2: When 70% of adults have one dose and 20% are fully vaccinated
This would further expand outdoor activities and enable limited things indoors.
- Outdoor gatherings up to 25 people
- Indoor gatherings up to five people
- Outdoor dining with up to six people per table
- Some personal care services
- Non-essential retail at 25% capacity
- Amusement parks and water parks
- County fairs
- Outdoor cinemas, performing arts, live music
Step 3: When 70% to 80% of adults have one dose and 25% are fully vaccinated.
This would allow access to more indoor activities.
- Indoor dining
- Larger gatherings
- Indoor religious services
- Indoor meetings and events
- Indoor sports
- Indoor seated events
- Casinos and bingo
Schools were not mentioned in the re-opening plan, although the latest COVID-19 modelling suggests they could open with a modest boost to infections by June 2.
Ford said he wants consensus from the Science Advisory Table about when to open schools and buy-in from teachers.
Getting ready to lift the Stay-at-Home order
Officials say they’re releasing the reopening plan now because enhanced health restrictions coupled with vaccinations have helped cases become more manageable.
Public health experts released new modelling data on Thursday that showed that COVID-19 cases have come down from their high in mid-April. The seven-day rolling average is now just above 2,100, but a few weeks ago it was more than 4,300 at the peak of the third wave.
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Earlier this month, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said daily case counts need to be “well below” 1,000 before restrictions could be rolled back.
On May 20, Ontario reported 2,400 new cases of COVID-19.