Ontario to start re-opening
Ontario will move into the initial phase of its reopening plan three days ahead of schedule on Friday, the government says, including loosening restrictions on retail and outdoor activities.
The province said the decision was made based on vaccination rates and “continuing improvements in key public health indicators.”
In a statement, Premier Doug Ford thanked Ontarians for their “enormous sacrifices” and credited the ongoing immunization campaign for making it possible.
“As we begin to enjoy the benefits of the first step in our roadmap, like meeting friends on a patio or visiting your favourite local store, please do so safely by continuing to follow all public health guidelines,” Ford said.
The province was initially supposed to begin Phase 1 of the plan, called the Roadmap to Reopen, on June 14. Instead it will take effect at 12:01 a.m. ET Friday.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said the cabinet met this morning to discuss the move.
Phase 1 allows for changes like larger outdoor gatherings, patio dining with up to four people and non-essential retail to open at 15 per cent capacity. Outdoor religious services, group exercise and day camps for children can also begin again, with limitations and health measures in place.
As of Sunday, more than 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered in Ontario. About 61.2 per cent of the total population, or 72 per cent of those aged 18 and older, have now had at least one shot.
The government and Chief Medical Officer of Health David Williams had set a threshold of at least 60 per cent of adults with a first shot before moving ahead with the start of reopening.