No capacity limits when Ontario leaves step three and fully reopens

Ontario government shares regulation that will come into effect on 'exit date', which is still to be announced

A sign indicating the reopening of a small local business during the COVID-19 pandemic

Although Ontario has not yet set a date to exit the final step of its reopening plan, the provincial government has shared the regulation that will be come into effect on that date.

In summary, the regulation lifts most of the existing public health measures, including all capacity limits, according to a statement issued by the Premier’s Office on Friday (July 30). Under the regulation, people will still be required to wear face masks when inside a business or organization.

“As the Delta variant is the dominant strain in Ontario, which is not the case with some other provinces, face coverings will also continue to be required for indoor public settings,” the statement reads. “This is consistent with other jurisdictions such as Quebec and Israel, and the CDC recently updated their recommendation that fully vaccinated people begin wearing masks indoors again in locations with high COVID-19 transmission rates. The Chief Medical Officer of Health will continue to evaluate this need on an ongoing basis.”

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However, face masks will not be required in schools or child care centres, day camps or overnight camps, developmental services group homes, or correctional facilities.

Those performing or rehearsing in a film or television production, concert, artistic event, or theatrical performance will also not be required to wear a mask.

Existing requirements that will remain in effect include the requirement for passive screening for COVID-19, such as posting a sign, safety plans for businesses, and the collection of names and contact information for contact tracing.

The announcement of the regulation comes the day after Ontario reached a milestone in its vaccine rollout, with 80 per cent of Ontarians aged 12 and over having now received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The province entered step three of the reopening plan on July 16th, and will remain in step three for at least 21 days (August 6th) and until 75 per cent of the eligible population aged 12 and over have received their second dose.

“The exit date will be confirmed as we get closer to achieving the additional vaccine milestones,” the statement from the Premier’s Office reads.

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Although no details have been provided, it is possible that some regions of the province will exit step three before others.

“In addition, no public health unit must have less than 70 per cent of their eligible population aged 12 and over fully vaccinated, and other key public health and health care indicators must also continue to remain stable,” the statement reads.

The regulation includes a schedule called “Areas at the Roadmap Exit Step” which currently lists no areas.

PDF: Rules for Areas at Step 3 and at the Roadmap Exit Step
Rules for Areas at Step 3 and at the Roadmap Exit Ste

This story has been updated with information about the Ontario government’s back-to-school plan.