'In the dark': Fully vaccinated Ontarians want guidance on what's next

As our neighbours to the South receive clear guidance on what they can safely do once fully vaccinated, Canadians are looking for the same communication.

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer says guidance is coming soon.

“This is in the jurisdiction of local and provincial governments,” Dr. Theresa Tam said at a press conference on Tuesday.

“They will be providing more details as to what people can do in their own context.”

Jason Reynolds has received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and is looking forward to a feeling of safety.

“You know, being able to protect my family, my friends. Hopefully, get back to some sense of normal,” he said.

For fully-vaccinated Ontarians like Reynolds, what happens next isn’t clear.

“I’d love to have some guidelines of what I can do, what I shouldn’t do — that would definitely be helpful. I feel that we’re all a little bit in the dark,” he said.

When reached for comment, the Public Health Authority of Canada says they have “developed a framework for easing public health measures, which focuses on a gradual relaxation of measures based on both vaccination coverage and number of cases.”

According to PHAC, if cases are low and vaccine coverage is high ..., Canadians can look forward to small, outdoor gatherings with family and friends, and other outdoor activities such as camping, hiking and enjoying outdoor patios.

In the fall, "if cases are low and two-dose vaccine coverage is high, public health authorities will be able to lift more measures and Canadians should be able to do more diverse indoor activities with others outside your household, while still following some personal preventive practices, as recommended," says PHAC.

According to Toronto Public Health (TPH) data, more than 25 per cent of residents have received two jabs.

"Until COVID-19 rates continue to decrease, including the risk for the Delta variant, and most people are fully vaccinated, Toronto residents still need to continue to practice public health measures: wear a mask especially indoors, keep your distance from others you do not live with, wash your hands often, and stay home when you are sick," TPH told CTV News Toronto in a statement on Wednesday.

In Ontario, there’s an even higher vaccination rate.

“We’re getting more vaccines into people’s arms. We’re all going to hit 30 per cent today the second doses,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said.

Starting Friday, Quebecers who have received two doses will be able to gather inside without a mask. However, for Canadians in others parts of the country the only social advantage of being fully vaccinated is international travel without having to quarantine at a hotel or self-isolate.

“We’re going at a very, very cautious pace right now. Almost to a fault, quite frankly,” infectious diseases specialist Dr. Abdu Sharkway said speaking to CP24.

In contrast, months ago the CDC outlined clear federal-level guidance for Americans — those who are fully vaccinated can seemingly resume their pre-pandemic activities.

“Canada’s approach to lifting public health measures is a population-based approach,” a spokesperson for the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) told CTV News in an e-mailed statement.

“PHAC will continue to work with provinces and territories to share the evidence and consider the best approach to make recommendations on adjusting personal preventive practices after an individual has been vaccinated with one and two doses of vaccine.”

Meantime, Canada is looking into a “risk assessment tool” to help guide Canadians on which activities are safe.