Ford says government ‘working hard’ to enter Step 2 ahead of schedule

By News Staff

The massive number of shots going into arms in Ontario could be good news for people in desperate need of a haircut.

Personal care services and other amenities that are set to reopen in Step 2 of the province’s plan could be allowed to open their doors a few days ahead of schedule as the Premier teases an announcement coming “soon.”

Premier Doug Ford has previously hinted he would like to move to Step 2 a little bit sooner than originally planned.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Ford said the government is “working hard to get to Stage 2 as soon as possible,” adding that any move to Step 3 will be done once it is safe.

He says Health Minister Christine Elliott and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams are working collaboratively on an exact reopening date which could be made official a few days ahead of July 2.

Ford’s optimism on further easing restrictions ahead of time comes with the province administering 227,000 vaccine doses through Tuesday; the most ever in one day.

“I encourage you to go get your first dose and then shortly thereafter, get your second dose,” he said.

“That’s just going to speed everything up and keep our hospitals safe and everyone else safe.”

Dr. Williams, meanwhile, has also said the COVID-19 indicators are promising, which might make it possible to move up from the July 2 target date. Williams told the Toronto Star he was optimistic that the province could enter the next step “a few days early.”


However, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones remains cautious, preferring not to rush things with the risk of the more transmissible Delta variant in Ontario.

“I couldn’t be happier if we could open sooner but I also want to do it safely,” said Jones on Tuesday.

“We’re doing that under the advice and guidance of the chief medical officer of health and the health table and as soon as we are able to share the news with the businesses and the people of Ontario we will do that.”

Dr. David Fisman, a member of Ontario’s Science Advisory Table, said Tuesday that the effective reproduction number (Rt) of the Delta variant is now over 1 in Ontario, which indicates exponential growth.

“Dynamics have changed. Get vaccinated. We will likely see a resurgence with Delta, but can blunt the impact with widespread vaccination,” he tweeted.

But even as fears over the spread of the Delta variant mount, COVID case counts continue to trend downward, along with the numbers of patients in the hospital and the ICU.

As of Wednesday, 76 per cent of Ontario adults have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and roughly 27 per cent are now fully vaccinated.

That vaccination rate matches the 70 to 80 per cent that is outlined for Step 3 of the reopening plan.

“Unfortunately, that does mean there’s one in four people who haven’t got their first dose,” said Dr. Dirk Huyer, the province’s chief coroner and a member of the vaccine task force.

“It’s so important to protect those people and provide that opportunity … to protect themselves from serious illness and hospitalization.”

Step 2 would allow for personal care services to reopen and would allow retailers to open at 50 per cent capacity. It would also allow for larger outdoor gatherings and smaller indoor gatherings.

Moving up the reopening by a few days would mean Step 2 coming into effect ahead of the extended Canada Day long weekend which could be a worry for many health experts who say there is generally a spike in cases following a holiday weekend.

There are 255 new cases of COVID-19 in Ontario today and 11 more deaths linked to the virus.

Health Minister Elliott says there are 57 new cases in Toronto, 53 in the Region of Waterloo, and 25 in Peel Region.

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today