Ontario Announces Roadmap to Reopen the Province

On May 20, 2021, the Ontario Government unveiled its “Roadmap to Reopen” the Province from its current shutdown (the “Roadmap”). The Government’s Roadmap includes a plan to completely reopen Ontario through what has been described as a “slow and cautious” three step approach, with certain outdoor facilities being eligible to open on a preliminary basis for the long weekend, beginning May 22, 2021.

It is anticipated that the Province will enter Step One of the reopening process during the week of June 14, 2021.

Preliminary Openings

Pursuant to Ontario Regulation 344/21 (available here), outdoor social gatherings of up to 5 persons will be permitted as of May 22, 2021; however, the Stay-At-Home order will still remain in effect.  Additionally, certain outdoor facilities may open provided that:

  • Users are required and able to  maintain a physical distance of at least two meters;
  • Team sports are not practised or played within the facility;
  • Other sports or games that are likely to result in close contact are not practised or played within the facility; and
  • Any associated indoor facilities remain closed with the exception of equipment storage, washrooms and first aid facilities.

The following facilities will be permitted to open, beginning May 22, 2021:

  • Parks and recreational areas;
  • Baseball diamonds;
  • Batting cages;
  • Soccer, football and sports fields;
  • Tennis, platform tennis, table tennis and pickleball courts;
  • Basketball courts;
  • BMX parks;
  • Skate parks;
  • Golf courses and driving ranges;
  • Frisbee golf locations;
  • Cycling tracks and bike trails;
  • Horse riding facilities;
  • Shooting ranges, including those operated by rod and gun clubs;
  • Ice rinks;
  • Tobogganing hills;
  • Snowmobile, cross country ski, dogsledding, ice skating and snow shoe trails;
  • Playgrounds;
  • Portions of parks or recreational areas containing outdoor fitness equipment;
  • Archery ranges;
  • Boat and watercraft launches; and
  • Lawn game courts, including lawn bowling, bocce and croquet courts.
The Three Step Roadmap

While the Ontario Government has not committed to a start date for Step One of the Roadmap, based on the current trends in key health indicators such as the provincial vaccination rate, the Government has advised that it anticipates entering Step One during the week of June 14, 2021.  A more specific date will be announced in the coming days.

Under the announced plan, the Province will remain in each Step for at least 21 days to evaluate key public health and health system indicators. If at the end of the 21 days a precise vaccination threshold has been met, and there are declining rates of hospitalization and intensive-care occupancy, the Province will proceed to the next Step.

Step One:
  • Outdoor activities with smaller crowds will commence, including outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people and outdoor dining with up to 4 people.
  • Non-essential retail will be permitted to open at 15% capacity.
  • 60% of adults must be vaccinated with one dose to proceed to Step Two.
Step Two:
  • Outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people.
  • Outdoor sports and leagues will commence.
  • Personal care services where face coverings can be worn will open with certain capacity limits.
  • Indoor religious services, rites or ceremonial gathers will be permitted at 15% capacity.
  • 70% of adults must be vaccinated with one dose and 20% vaccinated with two doses to proceed to Step 3.
Step 3:
  • Expanding access to indoor gatherings with capacity limits, including where large numbers of people are together and where face coverings cannot always be worn.
  • This includes indoor sports and recreational fitness, indoor dining, museums, art galleries and libraries, casinos and bingo halls.
  • 70-80% of adults must be vaccinated with one dose and 25% with two doses in order to proceed beyond Step 3.

All publicly and privately funded elementary and secondary schools in Ontario will continue to operate remotely for the time being.  

The official Ontario Government press release can be found here.  Further details about the reopening plan will be made available as additional information is released.

If you have any questions about this topic, other COVID-19 related questions, or would like assistance with developing and/or reviewing pandemic plans, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer, or refer to the Firm’s COVID-19 website resources.

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