COVID-19 Update for May 20 2021 – Ontario Reopening Plan released
Just ahead of the Victoria Day long weekend, Ontario lifted restrictions on golf and tennis beginning this weekend, with more changes to come as the province prepares to reopen in June.
Following days of summer-like temperatures leading into the long weekend, Ontario lifted restrictions on outdoor gatherings of five people, as well as amenities like golf and tennis beginning this Saturday, the first move in the province’s extremely cautious reopening strategy.
“Roadmap to Reopen” is billed as a gradual three-step plan based on hitting specific vaccination targets, which Premier Doug Ford said is the “single biggest factor in our fight against COVID-19.” The province is expected to enter Step 1 the week of June 14, followed by Step 2 three weeks later and Step 3 three weeks after that.
Step 1 focuses on resuming outdoor activities with smaller crowds and low risks of transmission once 60 per cent of adults have been vaccinated with one dose. This will include outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people, outdoor dining of up to four people per table, opening non-essential retail at 15 per cent capacity and opening outdoor activities like pools, fitness classes and religious services with restrictions.
Step 2 – following 70 per cent of adults receiving one dose and 20 per cent receiving two – further expands outdoor activities and limited indoor services. This will include outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people, resuming outdoor sports and leagues, as well as opening non-essential retail to 25 per cent capacity. Public libraries and personal care services will also be allowed with capacity limits and mandatory mask-wearing.
The final step, Step 3 – at 70-80 per cent of adults vaccinated with one dose and 25 per cent with two – will expand access to indoor settings where capacity limits and masks may not be required, including gyms, cinemas and indoor dining.
Public health measures and high vaccination uptake, particularly in hot-spot areas, have led to declining case counts and hospitalizations across the province, but ICU occupancy remains strained with high-risk patients requiring long stays. To date, nearly 60 per cent of Ontarians have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Modeling from Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table today demonstrated potential
outcomes for partial reopening on June 2 and June 16, with the latter presenting better results. Data also suggested reopening of schools on June 2 may result in a manageable increase in COVID-19, but the government did not say whether indoor learning would resume.
The table’s co-chair, Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, said “outdoor activities are much safer than indoor activities and should be encouraged.”