What’s allowed when Ontario enters Step 2 of reopening plan

Ontario will enter step 2 of the reopening plan on June 30, meaning restrictions on hair salons, indoor gatherings and outdoor activities will loosen.

The province is moving into the second phase of the economic reopening earlier than anticipated thanks to high uptake in second doses of the COVID-19 vaccines. To date, nearly 77 per cent of eligible adults have had one shot and almost 31 per cent have had two doses – higher than the targets for step 3 of the plan, but health officials say it’s too soon to loosen restrictions further.

The province’s outgoing Chief Medical Officer of Health David Williams told reporters earlier this week that the fast-spreading Delta variant could cause an increase in new infections if the province opens too quickly. As such, Ontario will remain in step 2 for 21 days to gauge the impact on public health indicators. That means you’ll have to wait a bit longer for indoor dining, gyms, cinemas, museums and many other indoor activities to resume.

In the meantime, here’s what’s allowed in step 2 of the Ontario reopening plan.

Gathering limits are easing again

  • Outdoor social gatherings and organized public events can have up to 25 people;
  • Indoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to five people are allowed;
  • Indoor religious services, rites or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services permitted at up to 25 per cent capacity of the particular room.

Outdoor dining rules loosen

Indoor dining and buffets are still banned, but restaurants and bars will be able to seat up to six people per table. Exceptions will be made for larger households – ie. a large group of people who all live together – people who live alone and caregivers for a member of said household.

Public libraries can reopen

Libraries are allowed to open again, but are restricted to 25 per cent capacity.

Community centres can open for certain activities

Under step 2, community centres and other “multi-purpose facilities” in Ontario can open for children’s day camps or overnight camps, indoor and outdoor sports and recreational activities, social services, the use of pools and splash pads, child care and mental health supports.

Hair salons and barbers can reopen

Personal-care services, including hair salons, barbers and nail salons, are finally allowed to reopen at 25 per cent capacity and face coverings must be worn at all times.

Retail capacity limits are easing

The capacity limits on essential retailers, such as supermarkets and pharmacies, will go from 25 to 50 per cent, and non-essential retailers can operate at 25 per cent capacity in step 2 compared with 15 per cent in step 1.

Shopping malls can reopen

Shopping malls can reopen, but “loitering” is not allowed and food courts must remain closed.

Post-secondary and other schools can reopen for in-person classes

Post-secondary schools can allow in-person classes as long as students can remain two metres apart. Indoor classes are limited to 50 people and outdoor classes are limited to 100 people.

Other businesses that offer in-person instruction can also resume. However, music schools must separate students by plexiglass and students must stay three metres apart.

Driving lessons can resume

Driving tests were allowed in step 1, but in step 2 in-car driving lessons are allowed so long as only one instructor and one student are in a vehicle and both must wear masks.

Outdoor entertainment venues can open

Indoor music venues are still limited to rehearsals and livestreams, but outdoor concert venues, theatres and cinemas can resume at 25 per cent capacity.

Restrictions on outdoor activities loosen further

  • Outdoor fitness classes limited to the number of people who can maintain three metres of physical distance;
  • Outdoor sports without contact or modified to avoid contact, with no specified limit on number of people or teams participating, with restrictions;
  • Overnight camps for children operating in a manner consistent with the safety guidelines produced by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health;
  • Outdoor sport facilities with spectators permitted at 25 per cent capacity;
  • Outdoor horse racing and motor speedways, with spectators permitted at 25 per cent capacity;
  • Outdoor fairs, rural exhibitions, festivals, permitted at 25 per cent capacity and with other restrictions.

What’s still closed?

  • Indoor amenities at short-term rentals, hotels and motels
  • Saunas, steam rooms and oxygen bars
  • Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments
  • Indoor dining
  • Nightclubs and strip clubs except to serve food and drinks outdoors or for takeout and delivery
  • Bathhouses and sex clubs
  • Indoor events at movie theatres, concert venues, theatres and museums

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