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3-step reopening plan: What to expect in Ontario this summer

Last Updated Jul 9, 2021 at 12:50 pm EDT

Under Step 3 in Ontario movie theatres will be able to open with capacity.

Step 1, which started June 11, will allow for outdoor dining (4 patrons per table) and non-essential retail at a 15% cap

Step 2, beginning June 30, saw hair and nail salons reopen and allow for limited indoor gatherings.

Step 3, to begin July 16, will allow for indoor dining and gyms to resume. Over 80% of adults need one dose.

The Ford government’s “Roadmap to Recovery” is set to enter its final stage after the province announced Friday that it will enter Step 3 on July 16 a few days ahead of schedule.

Premier Doug Ford announced back on May 20 that outdoor amenities would reopen with restrictions in place, revealing the three-step plan in the process.

The province first entered Step 1 of the plan on June 11. That stage continued until the beginning of Step 2, on June 30, which will now shift to Step 3 on July 16.

As Ontario vaccinates more of its population at an accelerated pace, the three steps continue to be based on that supply and the daily clip at which people get the shot.

The province has factored in COVID-19 case counts, percent positivity, and hospitalization rates.

As a result, each step will be in place 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,” the government said.

After the stay-at-home order expired on June 2, the Ford government hinted that the reopening plan could be jumpstarted a few days in advance.

Here is how the full plan looks.

Step 1 – 60% of adults vaccinated with one dose

In this step, which officially began on June 11, outdoor activities resumed with small, well-managed crowds.

The idea is to ensure that the risk of COVID-19 transmission is minimal.

With hospitalizations, ICU occupancy and new admissions going down, the stage officially commenced at 12:01 a.m. and will be in place until June 30, when Step 2 begins.

Taking a look at some examples of businesses, concert venues, theatres and cinemas opened outdoors for the purpose of “rehearsing or performing a recorded or broadcasted concert, artistic event, theatrical performance or other performance with no more than 10 performers, among restrictions.”

For personal training, fitness classes, and sports training, it’s allowed outdoors with 10 people maximum per session, each spaced 3 metres apart.

Began: June 11

Ended: June 30


Outdoor settings: 

  • Up to 10 people gathered outside
  • Up to 4 people per table (patio dining); with exceptions for larger households
  • Sports, training, and personal training: Up to 10 people
  • Day camps
  • Overnight camping at campgrounds and campsites, including Ontario Parks, and short-term rentals
  • Ontario Parks
  • Horse racing and motor speedways
  • Outdoor attractions such as zoos, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens with capacity and other restrictions
  • Graduations: The government is enabling school boards for “public and private elementary and high schools” to invite students back for brief outdoor end-of-year celebrations.


Indoor settings:

  • Religious services, rites, or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services permitted at up to 15% capacity of the particular room


Retail settings: 

  • Essential retail capacity at 25% (with no restrictions on the goods that can be sold)
  • Non-essential retail capacity at 15% (with no restrictions on the goods that can be sold)



Step 2 – 70% of adults vaccinated with one dose, 20% fully vaccinated:

The province required that 70 per cent of Ontario adults have received at least one dose, and 20 per cent need to have received both doses.

As of June 23, the government said over 76 per cent of the population in Ontario aged 18 and over had received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and over 29 per cent were treated with their second dose.

In this stage, we saw outdoor activities and gatherings increase in size. Some indoor services also resumed, including but not limited to hair and nail salons.

Indoor cinemas have remained closed but outdoor cinemas opened with some restrictions.

As for performing arts centres, they stayed closed indoors with the exception of rehearsing or performing a broadcasted event. All outdoor performing centres opened with some capacity restrictions.

Outdoor fitness classes and personal training are allowed to have 25 people maximum.

Will begin: June 30

Will end: July 16


Outdoor settings: 

  • Larger gatherings for up to 25 people
  • Dining for up to 6 people per table (patio dining)
  • Cinemas, performing arts, live music events and attractions at 25% capacity
  • Meeting and event spaces
  • Amusement and water parks at 25% capacity
  • Boat tour operators
  • County fairs and rural exhibitions
  • Fitness classes
  • Outdoor sports leagues and events at 25% capacity
  • Weddings permitted at capacity, limited to permit at least two metres of physical distancing


Indoor gatherings: 

  • Gatherings allowed for up to 5 people
  • Personal care services (barbers, hair salons, nail salons, etc.) at 25% capacity. Face covering must be worn at all times
  • Religious services, rites or ceremony gatherings at 25% capacity
  • Weddings permitted at 15% capacity
  • Overnight camps


Retail settings: 

  • Essential retail at 50% capacity
  • Non-essential retail capacity at 25%
  • Stores in shopping malls reopen


Step 3 – 70-80% of adults vaccinated with one dose, 25% fully vaccinated:

If 21 days after the beginning of Step 2 public health trends continue to head in the right direction – and 70 to 80 per cent of adults have received their first dose with 25 per cent of adults have received their second dose – the province will enter Step 3.

Indoor dining is slated to resume; a relief for small restaurants everywhere.

There will be no restrictions on patrons allowed per table but physical distancing must be maintained. Masks must also be worn in indoor settings and the mandate will remain in place moving forward.

This step will see the resumption of indoor services with larger numbers of people, such as cinemas, casinos, and larger religious services.

Both indoor and outdoor gyms will be allowed to open, with some restrictions.

Indoor cinemas and indoor performing arts centres will be allowed to open with restrictions in place.

Will begin: July 16

Indoor settings: 

  • Dining (there aren’t table restrictions but physical distancing must be maintained)
  • Indoor religious services, rites or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services permitted with physical distancing
  • Casinos and bingo halls
  • Indoor food or drink establishments where dance facilities are provided, including nightclubs and restobars, permitted up to 25 per cent capacity or up to a maximum limit of 250 people (whichever is less)
  • Concert venues, cinemas, and theatres permitted to operate at:
    • up to 50 per cent capacity indoors or a maximum limit of 1,000 people for seated events (whichever is less)
    • up to 75 per cent capacity outdoors or a maximum limit of 5,000 people for unseated events (whichever is less); and up to 75 per cent capacity outdoors or a maximum of 15,000 people for events with fixed seating (whichever is less)


  • Indoor sports and recreational fitness facilities to open subject to a maximum 50 per cent capacity of the indoor space. Capacity for indoor spectators is 50 per cent of the usual seating capacity or 1,000 people, whichever is less. Capacity for outdoor spectators is 75 per cent of the usual seating capacity or 15,000 people, whichever is less
  • Indoor meeting and event spaces permitted to operate with physical distancing and other restrictions still in effect and capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity or 1,000 people, (whichever is less)
  • Personal care services, including services requiring the removal of a face covering, with capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres
  • Museums, galleries, historic sites, aquariums, zoos, landmarks, botanical gardens, science centres, casinos/bingo halls, amusement parks, fairs and rural exhibitions, festivals, with capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity indoors and 75 per cent capacity outdoors
  • Real estate open houses with capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres
  • Face coverings in indoor public settings and physical distancing requirements remain in place throughout Step Three


Retail settings: 

  • Essential and non-essential retail with capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres


Outdoor settings:

  • Outdoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 100 people with limited exceptions