Ontario Government Unveils Roadmap to Safely Reopen Province
#RoadmaptoReopen #covid19 @ONThealth
The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, has released its Roadmap to Reopen, a three-step plan to safely and cautiously reopen the province and gradually lift public health measures based on the province-wide vaccination rate and improvements in key public health and health care indicators.
In response to recent improvements to these indicators, Ontario will allow more outdoor recreational amenities to reopen, with restrictions in place, effective Saturday May 22.
“As a result of the strict public health measures we introduced to stop the spread of COVID-19 variants, we are seeing a steady improvement in our situation as ICU and hospital numbers begin to stabilize,” said Premier Doug Ford. “While we must remain conscious of the continued threat the virus poses, with millions of Ontarians having received at least their first dose of vaccine we can now begin the process of a slow and cautious re-opening of the province in full consultation with our public health professionals.”
Roadmap to Reopen outlines three steps to easing public health measures, guided by the following principles:
- Step One An initial focus on resuming outdoor activities with smaller crowds where the risk of transmission is lower, and permitting retail with restrictions. This includes allowing outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people, outdoor dining with up to four people per table and non-essential retail at 15 per cent capacity.
- Step Two Further expanding outdoor activities and resuming limited indoor services with small numbers of people where face coverings are worn. This includes outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people, outdoor sports and leagues, personal care services where face coverings can be worn and with capacity limits, as well as indoor religious services, rites or ceremony gatherings at 15 per cent capacity.
- Step Three Expanding access to indoor settings, with restrictions, including where there are larger numbers of people and where face coverings can’t always be worn. This includes indoor sports and recreational fitness; indoor dining, museums, art galleries and libraries, and casinos and bingo halls, with capacity limits.
The province will remain in each step for at least 21 days to evaluate any impacts on key public health and health system indicators. If at the end of the 21 days, the following vaccination thresholds have been met, along with positive trends in other key public health and health system indicators, then the province will move to the next step:
Step 1: 60 per cent of adults vaccinated with one dose.
Step 2: 70 per cent of adults vaccinated with one dose and 20 per cent vaccinated with two doses.
Step 3: 70 to 80 per cent of adults vaccinated with one dose and 25 per cent vaccinated with two doses.
Based on current trends in key health indicators, including the provincial vaccination rate, the government expects to enter Step One of the Roadmap the week of June 14, 2021. The province will confirm closer to the expected start of Step One.
“While we know that now is not yet the moment to reopen, Ontarians deserve to know the path forward on what we will carefully reopen and when, starting with the settings we know are safest,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Brighter days are ahead and we believe this Roadmap represents a path out of the pandemic and will encourage Ontarians to get vaccinated and to continue following public health advice.”
- Based on the latest modelling data COVID-19 case, positivity and hospitalization rates are decreasing, and control of the pandemic is improving. Maintaining the current rate of vaccination and public health and workplace safety measures will help to ensure Ontario starts to safely and gradually reopen.
- Ontario has administered first doses of the COVID-19 vaccines to over 58.5 per cent of Ontarians aged 18 and over. Over two million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario since the start of May, and the province remains on track to have administered first doses to 65 per cent of Ontarians aged 18 and over by the end of May.
- The government has extended the provincewide Stay-at-Home Order until June 2, 2021, and has maintained all public health and workplace safety measures under the provincewide emergency brake to help to stop the rapid transmission of COVID-19 variants in communities, protect hospital capacity and save lives.
- The Stay-at-Home order currently in effect requires everyone to remain at home except for specified purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise, or for work that cannot be done remotely.
- If passed by the Legislature, powers under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (ROA) will be extended to December 1, 2021 to ensure public health measures currently in place can be extended and adjusted as necessary, to deal with the impacts of COVID-19 and support a gradual re-opening of the province. There are currently 29 orders in effect under the ROA. Orders can be extended for up to 30 days at a time under the ROA, and the government must report on all order extensions to the Select Committee on Emergency Management Oversight.
- As of 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, May 18, 2021, individuals aged 18 and over in 2021 across Ontario are eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment through the provincial booking system and call centre, or directly through public health units that use their own booking system.