Ontario will move to the third and final step of its COVID-19 reopening plan earlier than expected.
The province said in a news release Friday that it will transition to Step 3 at 12:01 am on July 16. That’s five days earlier than the originally scheduled date of July 21.
“Thanks to the tireless efforts of our frontline heroes, and the ongoing commitment of Ontarians to get vaccinated, we have surpassed the targets we set in order to enter Step Three of our Roadmap,” Premier Doug Ford said.
Eating indoors at restaurants, working out at a gym, and inviting friends over for an indoor hangout will be allowed again in Step 3. Casinos, movie theatres, and indoor sports facilities will also open.
Ontario passed the vaccination threshold to enter Step 3 weeks ago, but Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore has previously said it’s important to wait two to three weeks between steps to monitor the impact of each set of restrictions lifting.
- See also:
When Ontario first unveiled its reopening plan, the framework called for a 21 day waiting period between each step transition. But Ontario has moved into each step a few days early thus far.
The early transition for Step 3 was approved in consultation with Moore, according to the province’s news release.
“While this is exciting news, we most still remain vigilant and continue to follow the public health measure we know work and keep us safe,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said. “Vaccines remain our ticket out of the pandemic so if you haven’t booked your appointment yet, please do so today.”
The provincial government has not yet said what happens after Step 3, although officials have said more information will be available in the coming weeks.