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Indications are that Ontario could move into Step 2 of reopening ahead of schedule

Province wants the population to have 70% first dose vaccines and 20% second dose, and Sudbury has already surpassed those numbers
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In the past week, hundreds of Sudbury residents have taken advantage of walk-in clinics to get their first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines, such as this scene of the line-up at Sudbury's Countryside arena. Similar scenes have been happening across Ontario and could be part of the reason why the Ontario government might speed up the process of reopening Ontario.

There are indications that the reopening of Ontario procedure could happen more quickly than expected.  As part of the original reopening plan, Ontario would see restrictions being eased once the population has passed the 70 per cent mark for first-dose vaccinations. That happened last Friday. 

Ontario began the reopening plan on Friday June 11, with Step One. The plan said Step Two could begin 21 days later, which would be happening on Friday, July 2.

Based on several media reports in Toronto, such as CBC radio, the reopening process into Step 2 could begin June 30. 

In other reports, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams indicated he might consider moving the process ahead by a day or two. Williams has not committed to anything more than that at the moment, but Premier Doug Ford said he would be open to the idea of a quicker reopening if Dr. Williams approves.

Ford told reporters in Toronto there is no one more anxious to see businesses open than he is, but he doesn't want to move forward without approval from the medical experts.

The Ontario government webpage — Reopening Ontario — explains in detail what the changes will be once Step Two takes effect.

Among the activities that would be permitted with certain restrictions are the following:

  • Open indoors with small numbers (five people) and face coverings and expand gatherings for outdoors (25 people).
  • Outdoor social gatherings and organized public events for up to 25 people.
  • Indoor social gatherings and organized public events for up to five people.
  • Outdoor dining for up to six people per table at pubs and restaurants.
  • Essential retail capacity at 50 per cent.
  • Non-essential retail capacity at 25 per cent. 
  • Larger indoor religious services, rites, or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services with capacity limits.
  • Overnight camping.
  • Personal care services where face coverings can be worn at all times, open at 25-per-cent capacity, maximum five people.
  • Outdoor fitness classes and personal training – with limits on the number of patrons, three metres distance.
  • Outdoor meeting and event spaces.
  • Outdoor amusement and water parks.
  • Outdoor sports games, leagues and events.
  • Outdoor cinemas, performing arts, live music events and attractions.

So far, more than 75 per cent of Ontario adults have received the first dose of vaccine, and just over 25 per cent have had the second dose, Public Health Ontario reports. 

If the province allows Step Two to happen earlier than July 2, then it will be another 21 days before proceeding to Step Three, which will allow for numerous indoor events. The province will also be expecting up to 80 per cent of first dose vaccines and 25 per cent of the population having second dose vaccines. 

As of Tuesday afternoon, at least 73.3 per cent of adults in the Sudbury health unit jurisdiction have received their first dose of vaccine, not including youths under 14 and not including anyone who went to a local pharmacy for their first dose. Sudbury District residents are also at 24.5 per cent of having their second dose vaccines. 

Len Gillis is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter at Sudbury.com. He covers health care in Northern Ontario.



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Len Gillis, local journalism initiative reporter

About the Author: Len Gillis, local journalism initiative reporter

Len Gillis is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter at Sudbury.com covering health care in northeastern Ontario and the COVID-19 pandemic.
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