STRATHROY - The province has announced an early graduation from Step 2 to Step 3 of the roadmap to recovery plan for this coming Friday, 16 July. The initial framework to progress from step to step was based on vaccination rates as well as a three-week period between each level of regulation. To reach Step 3 Ontario was supposed to have 70%-80% of the eligible population vaccinated with at least one dose of the vaccine. Currently the figure stands above 76%, and as of Monday, 34% have two doses of the vaccine.
The loosening of regulations expands across many fronts of retail and recreation. Permitted to go ahead indoors for small groups wearing facial coverings or outdoors are social gatherings/organized public events (up to 25 people outdoors and 5 indoors), outdoor dining (up to six per table), essential and other select retail permitted to operate at half capacity and non-essential at 25 per cent.
Stores in shopping malls can reopen, with restrictions. Larger indoor religious services, rites, or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services can take place at 25% capacity. Looking outdoors, outdoor religious services, rites r ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services, up to proper physical distancing of two metres, overnight camps, Personal care services where face coverings can be worn at all times at 25 per cent capacity, Outdoor fitness classes are capped at the number of people who can maintain 3 metres of distance, Public libraries permitted at 25% capacity, outdoor meeting and event spaces at 25% capacity, outdoor amusement and water parks at 25% capacity, Outdoor sports games, leagues and events at 25% capacity, outdoor cinemas, performing arts, live music events, and attractions at 25% capacity, outdoor horse racing and motor speedways at 25% capacity.
Following Step will be a step four, which will see a complete reopening of the economy of Ontario.
Damon MacLean, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Middlesex Banner