What moving to Step 3 early means for London: Gyms, theatres, indoor dining on the menu

Ontario has announced that the province will move into Step 3 of the reopening plan on Friday, July 16, five days ahead of schedule.

That means gathering limits that allow for more people, the reopening of indoor dining, gyms, meeting space, theatres, concerts and other attractions.

Officials say vaccination rates have surpassed targets and other health-care indicators have continued to improve.

In a statement, Premier Doug Ford thanked front-line workers, but added, “While this is welcome news for everyone who wants a return to normal, we will not slow down our efforts to fully vaccinate everyone who wants to be and put this pandemic behind us once and for all.”

Among the changes in Step 3 of the roadmap are:

  • Outdoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 100 people with limited exceptions;
  • Indoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 25 people;
  • Indoor religious services, rites or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services permitted with physical distancing;
  • Indoor dining permitted with no limits on the number of patrons per table with physical distancing and other restrictions still in effect;
  • 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);
  • Essential and non-essential retail with with capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres;
  • 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;
  • 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).
  • Real estate open houses with capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres; and
  • 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).

Requirements for face coverings and physical distancing remain in place. A full list of changes is available here.

The province will remain in Step 3 for at least 21 days and until 80 per cent of the eligible population aged 12 and over has received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 75 per cent have received their second, with no public health unit having less than 70 per cent of their population fully vaccinated.

Other key public health and health care indicators must also continue to remain stable.

At that point most measures, including capacity limits for indoor and outdoor settings and limits for social gatherings, will be lifted.