It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day! Hope was on the horizon as Premier Ford took to the stage to announce Ontario’s brand new reopening plan. In a press conference Thursday afternoon, Premier Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliot outlined the next steps we can expect in the “roadmap to reopen.”

Premier Ford opened the conference stressing one pivotal point: Ontario’s reopening will be “slow and measured.” Although the ongoing restrictions have been working, the threat of COVID-19 has by no means disappeared. According to Ford, the speed at with the province sees freedom again will be dependant primarily on how quickly we can get people vaccinated.

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As for the plan itself? That’ll happen in three steps.

The first step will begin with the allowance of outdoor recreational activities in smaller crowds. In this phase, outdoor gatherings will be limited to 10 people, outdoor dining will be allowed with a limit of 4 people per table, and non-essential retail will begin to operate at 15% capacity. Although the confirmed beginning of step one depends heavily on the vaccine rollout (Ontario must hit a target of 60% of adults with at least one dose), Minister Elliot says that based on current trends, it’s possible that step one will begin the week of June 14th.

The second phase in the “roadmap to reopen” will include a loosening of outdoor restrictions, with gatherings allowed in groups of up to 25 people. It will also include the beginnings of limited indoor services with face coverings. Non-essential retail will be able to up their capacity limits to 25% and libraries and personal care services will be allowed to resume. This phase will be permitted once 70% of adults have at least one dose and 20% have two doses.

In the third phase of the plan, things will continue moving forward. Indoor gatherings will begin to be allowed, sometimes with no face coverings. Places like gyms, cinemas, performing arts facilities, indoor dining, and museums will be back in business. To enter step three, 70%-80% of adults must be vaccinated with one dose and 25% must be vaccinated with two doses.

ontario reopening
Via Shutterstock

According to Minister Elliot, each step is predicted to last a minimum of 21 days. Along the way, experts will be carefully measuring COVID-19 trends across the province to evaluate whether we are ready to proceed.

Now, if you’re so incredibly antsy that even the idea of waiting until June 14th for things to get into motion drives you insane, we’ve got good news. Outdoor recreation activities like golf and tennis will be allowed to reopen as early as THIS SATURDAY, MAY 22nd! That’s quite a nice long weekend surprise! You’ll also be allowed to attend small outdoor gatherings, as long as they do no exceed more than 5 people.

Once again, the primary focus of the provincial government is to get needles in people’s arms. Everyone 18+ years old is currently eligible to be vaccinated, so if you haven’t booked your shot yet you can do so online here.

We’ve got a long road ahead of us, Ontario. But we’ve come this far, we can definitely pull through to the end.

Stay healthy, folks.