Ontarians are once again free to eat inside of a restaurant or workout indoors at the gym.
As of 12:01 a.m. Friday, the province moved to Step 3 of its economic reopening plan.
The most notable of the COVID-19 restrictions to be loosened is that restaurants and fitness facilities can resume indoor operations. For restaurants and bars, there are no limits to the number of patrons allowed at a table, but physical distancing restrictions remain in place. Indoor sports and recreational fitness facilities can operate at 50 per cent capacity.
Caps on social gatherings have also increased from 25 people allowed outdoors and five people indoors to 100 people permitted outdoors and 25 people indoors.
Personal care services that require face coverings be removed, such as facials and beard trimmings, will once again be allowed.
Museums, casinos, and movie theatres can also allow patrons back inside.
Essential and non-essential retailers can up their capacity to as many people who can shop while also maintaining physical distance.
The provincial mandate for masks indoors and in some outdoor public settings will remain in place until at least September, this is in alignment with public health measures issued by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Premier Doug Ford announced a week ago the province would enter Step 3 on July 16, five days earlier than originally planned. It was June 30 when Ontarians made the early move to Step 2, less than three weeks after entering Step 1.
Under the criteria laid out by the Ford government, in order to enter Step 3 Ontario needed nearly 79 per cent of all eligible adults to have had their first COVID-19 vaccine dose and more than 50 per cent of all eligible adults to have the required two doses. To date, 79.6 per cent of adults in the province have got their first shot, while 59.4 per cent have received both doses to be considered fully inoculated.
The province will remain in Step 3 for at least 21 days and until 80 per cent of Ontarians aged 12 and older have received one dose of the vaccine and 75 per cent have received a second dose. The province also requires all public health units to have at least 70 per cent of their local population fully vaccinated.
Below is a list of what has changed under Step 3:
-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 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)