Ontario Premier Doug Ford revealed his government's plan on Thursday to reopen the economy by easing public health restrictions over the next three months, pending vaccine coverage and declining case counts.
"Ontario's reopening plan reads more like a plan to ensure the province is the last jurisdiction in the continent to allow even a trickle of business activity to resume", CFIB president Dan Kelly said in a statement released Thursday. Over two million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario since the start of May, and the province remains on track to have administered first doses to 65 per cent of Ontarians aged 18 and over by the end of May. That, too, could depend on vaccination rates of special education staff and teachers. "I know that there might be some people who want to move faster, but we can't risk it right now". Visitors will not be required to under a COVID-19 rapid test as the gathering will be outdoors.
- Essential retail open up to 25 per cent capacity, selling all goods, and non-essential retail open up to 15 per cent capacity.
- Horse racing and motor speedways without spectators, and outdoor horse riding. Day camps, provincial parks, campsites, outdoor pools and splash pads would also be able to reopen.
Regional officials said they're on-track to reach the 60 per cent vaccination goal laid out by the province for reopening next month.
Homes are being asked to communicate with communities about how to book visits and about public health measures still in effect, such as masks and physical distancing.
Ford said there is now no consensus on when schools should resume in-person learning.
- Outdoor dining with up to six people per table.
- Outdoor sports leagues, outdoor meeting and event spaces, outdoor performing arts and cinemas with capacity limits.
The current Stay-at-Home Order requires everyone to remain at home except for essential reasons, such as grocery shopping, going to the pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), outdoor exercise or for work that can not be done remotely. Under that phase, large outdoor gathering will be allowed for up to 25 people, while small indoor gathering will be allowed for up to five people.
- Outdoor waterparks, amusement parks, fairs and rural exhibitions with capacity limits. Schools might reopen to in-person learning in June, but no date has been set.
The government says the province will remain in each stage for at least 21 days, only moving to the next stage if specific vaccine targets are met and health-system indicators remain positive.
Premier John Horgan urged everyone to continue abiding by the rules stopping indoor dining and gatherings as well as limiting travel until midnight on Monday, saying some restrictions will be lifted on Tuesday in a gradual loosening of measures.