Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph and Ontario move to Step 3, Friday

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Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph residents and businesses will be allowed to have larger indoor and outdoor gatherings starting Friday (July 16), as the province makes an early move into Step 3 of its Roadmap to Reopen.

The Ontario government announced on Friday (July 8) that the province would be making the move to Step 3, five days ahead of schedule. Ontario was originally slated to move into the next step starting July 21.

“While this is welcome news for everyone who wants a return to normal, we will not slow down our efforts to fully vaccinate everyone who want to be and put this pandemic behind us once and for all,” said Premier Doug Ford.

In order to move to Step 3, Ontario needed to have between 70 and 80 per cent of adults with one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as well as 25 per cent having received a second dose.

According to a press release from the province, as of July 8 over 77 per cent of the population in Ontario ages 12 and over had received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and more than 50 per cent had received a second. There have been 16.6 million doses administered province wide.

“I didn’t see any reason to hold us back given that so many Ontarians have come forward – over 200,000 a day are coming forward to get immunized,” said Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health, on Friday.

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health reported on Monday that half of all eligible residents had a second COVID-19 vaccine dose with just over 139,000 people considered fully vaccinated. Roughly 75 per cent of eligible Dufferin County residents have one dose.

Ontario will remain in Step 3 for at least 21 days, and until 80 per cent of Ontarians ages 12 and over have received a first dose and 75 per cent a second dose.

Moore said after meeting these thresholds the “vast majority of public health and workplace safety measures, including capacity limits for indoor and outdoor settings and limits for social gatherings, will be lifted.”

Step 3 permits:

• Outdoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 100 people with limited exceptions;

• Indoor social gatherings and organized public event with up to 25 people;

• Indoor religious services, rites or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services permitted with physical distancing

• Indoor dining permitted with no limits on the number of patrons per table with physical distancing and other restriction still in effect

• Essential and non-essential retail with capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain physical distancing of two metres

• Personal care services, including those requiring the removal of a face covering, with capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain physical distancing

• Indoor sports and recreational fitness facilities to open subject to a maximum of 50 per cent capacity of the indoor space. Capacity for indoor spectators is 50 per cent of usual seating capacity or 1,000 people. Outdoor spectators is 75 per cent of usual seating capacity of 15,000, whichever is less.

• Indoor meeting and event spaces permitted to operate with physical distancing and other restriction and capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity or 1,000 people

• Museums, galleries, historic sites, aquariums, zoos, landmarks, botanical gardens, science centres, casinos/bingo halls, amusement parks, fairs and rural exhibitions, festival, with capacity not exceeding 50 per cent indoors and 75 per cent outdoors.

• Concert venues, cinemas, and theatres permitted to operate up to 50 per cent capacity indoors with maximum of 1,000 people and up to 75 per cent outdoors with maximum limit of 5,000 (unseated) or 15,000 (seated).

• Real estate open houses with capacity limited to the number people that can maintain physical distance

• Indoor food and drink establishments where dance facilities are provided including nightclubs and restobars, permitted 25 percent or up to 250 people.

Ontario will remain in Step 3 of the reopening plan until the first week of August at minimum.

Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shelburne Free Press

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