Step 2 in the re-opening starts today in Oshawa, Ajax and Durham Region – Here’s what you can do

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Published June 30, 2021 at 1:23 pm

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Today is a big day in Ontario (except for Waterloo Region) as we enter Step 2 in Premier Doug Ford’s grand plan to re-open the Province.

That means haircuts – welcome news to a few million of us currently sporting unmanageable mop tops – as well as the loosening of restrictions for gatherings, indoor and out.

It means some outdoor sports are back for the kids (where they can reasonably socially distance), and for adults too, with spectators capped at 25 per cent.

It also means we are now just three weeks from Stage 3 re-opening, as long as we continue to vaccinate and we keep the Delta and any other variant of the Covid-19 virus at bay.

But we are not in the clear yet, cautioned Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s new Chief Medical Officer of Health, citing outbreaks fuelled by the Delta variant – such as in Waterloo, which has delayed their entry into Stage until mid-July – that have jeopardized the re-opening schedule.

“This must be done with caution and care,” she said. “While this does mean most Ontarians can get a haircut and are allowed to have family visits or visit their favourite amusement park, it does not yet mean we are ready to forget about the need for physical distancing, masking and vaccination.”

Other changes include:

• Outdoor gatherings now allowed up to 25 people
• Indoor gatherings up to five people
• Personal care services open at 25 per cent capacity to maximum; services that require the removal of a face covering are not permitted
• Outdoor dining up to six people per table
• Weddings, religious rites and ceremonies – maximum of 25 per cent capacity indoors; unlimited outdoors with physical distancing
• Outdoor sports leagues
• Outdoor sports facilities with spectators permitted at 25 per cent capacity
• Outdoor concert venues, theatres and cinemas, with spectators permitted at 25 per cent capacity
• Outdoor fairs, rural exhibitions and festivals permitted at 25 per cent capacity with other restrictions
• Non-essential retail at 25 per cent capacity

Most libraries have been open by appointment for computer use, photocopying and printing. Not all municipalities in Durham have declared when their library branches will re-open (at 25 per cent capacity, so long as public health measures are followed), but Oshawa libraries will re-open to the public July 5.

Indoor gyms and fitness facilities aren’t allowed to open until Step 3 except for professional or amateur athletes training, high-performance athletes or those in physical therapy programs.

Indoor museums and galleries as well as the indoor components of zoos and aquariums won’t open until Step 3.

Fairs, rural exhibitions: Outdoor events with reduced capacity and other public health measures are now permitted under Step 2.

Tours (e.g. boat tours), guide services: Outdoor services can now operate with capacity- and public health-related restrictions.

Driving instruction, testing: Driving instruction services can resume in addition to driving testing, which was approved in Step 1.

Horse racing, motorsports: Racetracks can reopen to spectators so long as capacity restrictions and public health measures are in place.

(Ajax Downs welcomed back the Quarter Horses for its 2021 racing season on June 16 but have not announced when they will re-opening for spectators.)

Cinemas: Indoor facilities remain closed until Step 3, but outdoor venues can reopen (drive-ins, however, reopened in Step 1) with capacity and public health restrictions.

Casinos, bingo halls, gaming establishments: These facilities remain closed until Step 3.

Marinas, boating clubs: No changes from Step 1 and indoor amenities are still ordered closed until Step 3.

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