The Province of Ontario has announced that it will move ahead with Step One of the Roadmap to Reopen ahead of schedule, and Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford is praising his riding. 

"With this June 11 re-opening news, I want to thank everyone across the northwest for their efforts in abiding by the guidelines and working so hard at getting our cases to a bare minimum across the region."

"Special thanks to the Northwestern Health Unit and local pharmacies and all of the staff and volunteers involved in the distribution of vaccines throughout the Kenora and Rainy River Districts. This is the first step in getting our region back to normal just in time for summer," he says. 

The Northwestern Health Unit catchment area has seen a significant decrease in active cases in the last month. As of June 8, the NWHU is reporting a total of four active COVID-19 cases across the region. 

"Congratulations to all of us. I think we did good work. Folks grappled with the elements of this lockdown, but you know what? At the end of the day it worked. We've gone from being in a grey-lockdown area for much of this third wave and here we are. We're ready to move forward," Rickford adds. 

As of June 11, the province will be in step one for at least 21 days to evaluate public health and health system indicators.

Below is a list of what is included (but not limited to) in Step One:

·Outdoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 10 people;

·Outdoor religious services, rites, or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services, capped at the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres;

·Indoor religious services, rites, or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services permitted at up to 15 per cent capacity of the particular room;

·Non-essential retail permitted at 15 per cent capacity, with no restrictions on the goods that can be sold;

·Essential and other select retail permitted at 25 per cent capacity, with no restrictions on the goods that can be sold;

·Outdoor dining with up to four people per table, with exceptions for larger households;

·Outdoor fitness classes, outdoor groups in personal training and outdoor individual/team sport training to be permitted with up to 10 people, among other restrictions;

·Day camps for children permitted to operate in a manner consistent with the safety guidelines for COVID-19 produced by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health;

·Overnight camping at campgrounds and campsites, including Ontario Parks, and short-term rentals;

·Concert venues, theatres and cinemas may open outdoors for the purpose of rehearsing or performing a recorded or broadcasted concert, artistic event, theatrical performance or other performance with no more than 10 performers, among other restrictions;

·Outdoor horse racing tracks and motor speedways permitted to operate without spectators; and

·Outdoor attractions such as zoos, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens with capacity and other restrictions.

The government is also allowing school boards for public and private elementary and schools to have brief outdoor end-of-year celebrations as long as the following requirements are met:

·Celebrations should be organized by class for elementary school and by homeroom or quadmestered class for secondary schools. A maximum of two guests per student can attend.

·All celebrations should take place outdoors – no indoor celebrations are permitted.

·Celebrations should only take place where physical distancing can be maintained.

·Gathering before and after the celebrations will not be permitted.

To move beyond this current framework, 70 per cent of adults have at least one dose and 20 per cent of adults have at least 2 doses. Once that marker is achieved, the province will look to move into step two of the Roadmap.