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If the province hits new vaccination targets, the majority of pandemic rules will be lifted after three weeks
Movie theatres, nightclubs, gyms, museums, casinos, sex clubs, bathhouses, strip clubs, indoor sports, concerts and dining can reopen just after midnight in Ontario on July 16.
That’s when the province will enter step 3 of the economic reopening plan, the government said.
On Friday morning, the province released sector-specific guidelines that spell out indoor and outdoor venue capacity, as well as other health and safety rules for step 3. Outdoor gathering limits will be upped to 100 people and indoor events and gatherings capped at 25 people.
The step 3 rules will remain in effect for at least 21 days and until 80 per cent of the eligible population 12 and up in Ontario has had one dose and 75 per cent have had two doses. No public health unit can have less than 70 per cent of the population fully vaccination before Ontario can relax the rules further.
“Upon meeting these thresholds, the vast majority of public health and workplace safety measures, including capacity limits for indoor and outdoor settings and limits for social gatherings, will be lifted,” the province said in a statement. “Only a small number of measures will remain in place, including the requirement for passive screening, such as posting a sign, and businesses requiring a safety plan.”
Mandatory face masks in indoor public settings and physical distancing requirements will stay in place throughout step 3 and face masks will be required in some outdoor public settings as well, the province said.
The government has surpassed vaccination targets to enter step 3. As of Thursday, over 77 per cent of the population aged 12 and up has had one shot of COVID-19 vaccine and over 50 per cent have had two doses.
Starting at 12:01 am on July 16, retailers can welcome back as many customers that can fit in a space as long as people can remain physically distanced. There are no table capacities for indoor dining, but physical distancing and other restrictions remain.
Capacity limits for movie theatres and concert venues are up to 50 per cent indoors or a maximum of 1,000 people for seated events and 75 per cent outdoors or up to 5,000 people for unseated events. The capacity for outdoor events with seating is 75 per cent or up to 15,000 people depending on the size of the venue.
Museums, galleries and casinos can reopen with 50 per cent capacity indoors or 75 per cent capacity outdoors.
Nightclubs and restaurants with dancefloors will have lower indoor capacity: 25 per cent at a maximum of 250 people.
Bathhouses and sex clubs can also operate at up to 25 per cent capacity for indoor events. Patrons must also keep a distance of two metres “except when physical distancing cannot be maintained while participating in the activities for which patrons normally frequent such an establishment,” the rules state. Similar rules apply to patrons for mask usage.
Some major venues had already started announcing reopening plans. The Royal Ontario Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Horseshoe Tavern detailed plans for indoor activities to resume later in July in anticipation of the step 3 rules.