Ontario to enter step 3 of reopening plan on July 16. Here are the rules

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.

Rules and restrictions for step 3 in Ontario:

  • Outdoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 100 people with limited exceptions;
  • Indoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 25 people;
  • Indoor religious services, rites or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services permitted with physical distancing;
  • Indoor dining permitted with no limits on the number of patrons per table with physical distancing and other restrictions still in effect;
  • Indoor sports and recreational fitness facilities to open subject to a maximum 50 per cent capacity of the indoor space. Capacity for indoor spectators is 50 per cent of the usual seating capacity or 1,000 people, whichever is less. Capacity for outdoor spectators is 75 per cent of the usual seating capacity or 15,000 people, whichever is less;
  • Indoor meeting and event spaces permitted to operate with physical distancing and other restrictions still in effect and capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity or 1,000 people, (whichever is less);
  • Essential and non-essential retail with with capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres;
  • Personal care services, including services requiring the removal of a face covering, with capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres;
  • Museums, galleries, historic sites, aquariums, zoos, landmarks, botanical gardens, science centres, casinos/bingo halls, amusement parks, fairs and rural exhibitions, festivals, with capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity indoors and 75 per cent capacity outdoors;
  • Concert venues, cinemas, and theatres permitted to operate at:
    • up to 50 per cent capacity indoors or a maximum limit of 1,000 people for seated events (whichever is less)
    • up to 75 per cent capacity outdoors or a maximum limit of 5,000 people for unseated events (whichever is less); and up to 75 per cent capacity outdoors or a maximum of 15,000 people for events with fixed seating (whichever is less).
  • Real estate open houses with capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres; and
  • Indoor food or drink establishments where dance facilities are provided, including nightclubs and restobars, permitted up to 25 per cent capacity or up to a maximum limit of 250 people (whichever is less).

@nowtoronto

Brand Voices

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *