The Ontario Government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Ontario, announced today that Ontario will move to Step Three of the Roadmap to Reopen at 12:01 a.m. on Friday July 16, 2021. With this move, the Ontario government is striking a balance between the 21 days previously announced between the sequential stages of the Roadmap, better than expected vaccination rates and continuous improvements to other key health indicators, and pressure to reopen the economy more fully. The announcement today provides businesses time to prepare for this next stage, which they have repeatedly said is necessary to allow them to plan to reopen safely.
Step Three will allow more areas of the economy to slowly return to normal. It will allow a resumption of more indoor services with expanded capacity limits and restrictions in place. Restrictions such as the need for face coverings and physical distancing are still needed as the Delta variant and other variants continue to pose a threat to Ontarians.
What is permitted in Step Three:
- Indoor dining permitted with no limits on the number of patrons per table with physical distancing (2 metres between tables or separated by a barrier) dictating the capacity limit and other restrictions still in effect;
- Essential and non-essential retail with capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres;
- Malls are open with no loitering. The number of members of the public in the shopping mall at any one time must not exceed the total capacity determined by taking the sum of the capacities of every business in the mall;
- 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;
- 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 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);
- Indoor sports and recreational fitness facilities to open subject to a maximum 50 per cent capacity of the indoor space. For recreational fitness, masking is not required when working out but distancing is required, masking is required when moving around the facility. 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 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);
- 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 for each individual cinema or a maximum limit of 1,000 people individually seated events. For a multiplex, the capacity is up to 50 per cent total or a maximum limit of 1,000 people individual 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); and
- Real estate open houses with capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres.
For further details, please view the full list of regulations for public health and workplace safety measures. Business and organizations must continue to comply with the advice, recommendations, and instructions of their local public health officials.
The province will remain in Step Three for at least 21 days to evaluate any impacts on key public health and health system indicators. To exit Step Three, at least 80 per cent of the eligible population aged 12 and over in Ontario will need to have received one dose of the vaccine and 75 per cent will need to be fully vaccinated. The provincial government also specified that to exit Step Three no public health unit can have less than 70 per cent of their population (12 and over) fully vaccinated. There is an expectation that a small number of public health measures will continue to remain in place once we exit Step Three, including the need for passive screening and requiring businesses to have a safety plan. The Chief Medical Officer of Health will continue to evaluate the need for face coverings in indoor public settings.
Happy to help.
Sussex would be happy to work with and support any clients or sectors who might need greater clarity around the new rules above and/or their various reopening plans. We are here to help.
Chris Benedetti, Managing Partner
Matthew Gibson, Vice President
Robyn Gray, Principal
Brian Zeiler-Kligman, Vice President
Joe Ragusa, Senior Counsel
David Donovan, Director
Naomi Shuman, Associate