'Mistakes now could end up being very costly': Health unit urges vigilance as stay-at-home order ends

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Ontario’s stay-at-home order officially expires today, but what does that mean for local residents as the province has not yet entered Step 1 of its reopening plan?

The earliest the province has said that reopening will begin has been June 14.

That means that according to the government the restrictions first introduced in the days before the stay-at-home order will be back in effect.

Those restrictions were the ones introduced under the province wide “emergency brake.”

The answer to what has changed could be “not much.”

For residents in Middlesex-London and surrounding regions it means that non-essential trips from your home are now allowed.

Visits to personal cottages are once again okay, but as long as they are with members of your own household.

Outdoor gatherings are limited to five people, only ones with members of the same household can be larger than five. Indoor gatherings are still not permitted.

Anyone who lives alone can visit one other household.

Capacity limits for essential stores remain at 25 per cent and non-essential retail is still closed.

Restrictions on personal care services don’t ease until Step 2 of reopening.

Limits on church gatherings remain in a place. In London church gatherings have been a large topic during the latest stay-at-home order as several churches in Aylmer, Woodstock, and Chatham-Kent face fines and charges for repeatedly breaking the Reopening Ontario Act. 

Meanwhile a decision on whether or not schools will reopen remains forthcoming, however signals from the government indicate students may not go back to in-person learning until September. 

Restaurants also need to wait to reopen in some capacity until at least Step 1.

Some outdoor facilities like golf courses and tennis courts have already reopened but most indoor and outdoor sports recreational facilities are closed.

The Middlesex-London Health Unit is urging residents to continue to follow guidelines as the order ends Wednesday.

"We are at a critical point in the pandemic's third wave. Although we are seeing more poeple get vaccinated and case numbers in decline, mistakes now may end up being very costly," said Medical Officer of Health Dr. Chris Mackie. 

For more information on the Roadmap to Reopen Ontario follow this link.