COVID-19 Ontario reopening: What you can do in Stage 2 and why we'll have to wait a while for Stage 3

·3 min read

Ontario has now moved into Step 2 of its reopening plan, after entering the first step of the framework on June 11.

The Waterloo Region is still delaying its move into Step 2, due to concerns around case rates and hospitalizations driven by the Delta variant.

What is allowed in Step 2 of Ontario's reopening plan?

  • Outdoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 25 people

  • Indoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 5 people

  • Essential and other select retail permitted at 50 per cent capacity

  • Non-essential retail permitted at 25 per cent capacity

  • Personal care services where face coverings can be worn at all times, and at 25 per cent capacity and other restrictions

  • Outdoor dining with up to 6 people per table, with exceptions for larger households and other restrictions

  • Indoor religious services, rites, or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services permitted at up to 25 per cent capacity of the particular room

  • Outdoor fitness classes limited to the number of people who can maintain 3 metres of physical distance

  • Outdoor sports without contact or modified to avoid contact, with no specified limit on number of people or teams participating, with restrictions

  • Overnight camps for children operating in a manner consistent with the safety guidelines produced by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health

  • Outdoor sport facilities with spectators permitted at 25 per cent capacity

  • Outdoor concert venues, theatres and cinemas, with spectators permitted at 25 per cent capacity

  • Outdoor horse racing and motor speedways, with spectators permitted at 25 per cent capacity

  • Outdoor fairs, rural exhibitions, festivals, permitted at 25 per cent capacity and with other restrictions

When can Ontario move to Step 3 of the reopening plan?

According to the province's reopening plan, Ontario can move into Step 2 when 70 per cent of adults are vaccinated with one dose and 20 per cent have received both doses.

It also outlines that Ontario can move into Step 3 when 70 to 80 per cent of adults have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 25 per cent are fully vaccinated. More than 77 per cent of Ontarians have received their first dose and more than 37 per cent are fully vaccinated.

The plan also outlines that the province must spend 21 days in each step of the framework, but the province rolled that back to 19 days between Step 1 and Step 2.

Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario's new chief medical officer of health, explained that the immunization rate is an important metric for future reopening, but indicated that metrics should be analyzed in conjunction with hospitalizations, ICU admissions and the reproductive rate of the virus. He also stressed that it takes at least 14 days after the second dose before the body builds the immunity that's required to fight off the virus.

"We always should be adding that 14-day cushion and then have a period of observation where we're monitoring the health of the population...not just the immunization rate, to show that we've opened safely... and that it's prudent and wise to move to the next step," Dr. Moore said.

"The two-to-three-week cycle is very important to maintain so that we do the opening of Ontario in a step-wise manner, always going forward and not having to take a step back."

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