Ontario’s stay-at-home order officially times out on June 2, marking the beginning of a projected reopening for the province. The province has released a “Roadmap to Reopen” featuring three possible steps, each benchmarked by a 21-day period.
“Brighter days are ahead and we believe this Roadmap represents a path out of the pandemic and will encourage Ontarians to get vaccinated and to continue following public health advice,” said Minister of Health Christine Elliott in a provincial statement.
But while the stay-at-home order has officially ended today, reopening has not officially begun. Provincial health authorities have identified target dates for each of these steps, relying on the gradual observation of case counts before implementation.
If everything does go according to plan, Step 1 should commence on June 14. According to the province’s initial statement, this would be when 60 per cent of eligible Ontarians have had their first vaccine dose for two weeks.
As of June 2, according to Global News’ vaccine tracker, 9,202,220 Ontarians have received their first dose. In 2020, Ontario’s population was measured at 14,745,040, meaning that around 60 per cent of Ontarians received their dose a little earlier than projected.
Premier Doug Ford announced a positive development to the vaccine timeline on May 28, stating in a press conference that “Ontario is ready to deliver a two-dose summer.” The province says that Ontario residents can expect a shortened interval between their first and second doses, with potential for all Ontarians to be vaccinated by the end of August.
Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa expressed positivity with regards to vaccination efforts in the city.
“Overall the measures of illness are in decline, which means our situation is improving,” she said in a May 26 press conference. “Vaccination is vital to sustaining the downward trends in these figures.”
When Step 1 begins, residents of the province can begin having gatherings of up to 10 people, and non-essential retail will open up at 15 per cent capacity.
If everything in Ontario’s reopening plan goes completely according to schedule, the province will enter Step 2 on July 5, opening the door to outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people, outdoor sports and leagues, overnight camps, and more. Finally, July 26 would mark Step 3, with expanded access to many more indoor settings.
As for what this reopening plan signals for York, the university’s Deputy Spokesperson Yanni Dagonas suggests that not much will change in the summer.
“While we do not expect any changes to our plans for the summer 2021 term, the community should continue to monitor Better Together for updates,” he says. “For the summer, the university will continue the same fundamental approach to course delivery as it did in the fall/winter 2020/2021 terms. This means that most undergraduate and graduate courses will be offered via online and/or remote delivery.”
A select number of summer classes are available in-person, which York has listed on their website. These consist of mainly various practicums, including biology research practicums, nursing practicums, and more.
However, a few other summer courses stand out that presumably require a more hands-on approach, including stone carving, darkroom photography, and athletic therapy field placement.
As positive vaccination news and opportunities to leave the house abound, de Villa warned Torontonians to avoid complacency.
“It may be tempting, knowing so many people around you are vaccinated, to worry less about booking your own appointment,” she said. “But the doctor in me has to remind you: no one has maximum protection until they’re fully vaccinated. COVID-19 continues to circulate in Toronto and if you’re not fully vaccinated, that puts you at risk.
“So we have progress to be happy about but a gap still to close. Like all things during the pandemic, so much of our future depends on the choices we make as individuals in the next few weeks,” she concluded.