As Ontario’s stay-at-home orders end and we transition back into public health measures under the provincial emergency brake, Ontario leadership is looking ahead to their June 14 deadline.
The week of June 14 is the target date for Ontario to enter into its new Roadmap to Reopening, and the first step of the plan calls for 60 per cent of adults to receive their first dose of the vaccine, before restrictions can start to change.
Moving into the first step would include allowing more people to gather outdoors, higher retail limits for non-essential businesses, the reopening of outdoor religious services and the reopening of campsites and fitness centres.
But Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford says if enough residents get their COVID-19 vaccines ahead of schedule, restrictions could be lessened or lifted as soon as the week of June 7.
“The reopening plan lends itself to [potentially] go to the next phase a week or so earlier at each and every stop,” explained Minister Rickford, during an interview with Q104 earlier this week.
“If the vaccination thresholds can be met, and met sooner than we had projected based on supply, we can move things up. We have that kind of flexibility, and we’re very hopeful,” Rickford adds.
In the region as of June 3, the Northwestern Health Unit reports that 66 per cent of residents above the age of 12 have received at least their first dose of the vaccine. Fort Frances is leading the way, with 72.7 per cent of residents being vaccinated.
Across Ontario, Canada’s COVID-19 tracker says nearly 67 per cent of residents above the age of 12 have received at least one dose, and over 9.4 million doses have been administered as of June 3.
Once Ontario hits about 70 per cent of adults being vaccinated with their first dose and 20 per cent have received their second dose, the province is hoping to move into the second step of their plan, expected by the week of July 5.
The second step of the plan would increase indoor and outdoor gathering limits, increase capacity limits for non-essential businesses, reopen outdoor event spaces and outdoor recreational sports leagues, and would reopen personal care services with capacity limits and face coverings.
The province says they’ll remain in each step of the reopening plan for at least three weeks, based on vaccine uptake and the province meeting key health indicators like daily case counts and the number of hospitalizations.
Step three, when Ontario has 70 to 80 per cent of adults vaccinated with one dose and 25 per cent with two doses, is expected by the week of July 26. It would reopen indoor settings where face masks cannot be worn, such as gyms, movie theatres, arts centres, casinos, bingo halls, museums and indoor dining.
The provincial and federal governments both say they’re aiming to have all willing adults fully immunized by the end of September, with Ontario aiming to immunize youth by the end of August.