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Ontario’s reopening plan: Limited patio dining expected mid-June but indoor dining off limits until at least late July


Toronto – Under Ontario’s new three-step program for reopening and gradually lifting public health measures, limited patio dining for four is expected to be allowed in mid-June, but restaurants and bars will have to wait until at least July 26 before indoor dining is allowed.

On May 20, Ontario released a three-step plan to safely and cautiously reopen the province and gradually lift public health measures based on the provincewide vaccination rate and improvements in key public health and health care indicators.

One immediate effect is that the province will allow more outdoor recreational amenities to reopen, with restrictions in place, effective May 22. As for at restaurants and bars, Ontarians can dine with four people per table and other restrictions starting June 14 if the province’s health targets are met. That increases to six people per table with Step 2 (21 days later) and finally indoor dining with capacity and other restrictions (21 following Step 2).

Gradual path to indoor dining for restaurants and bars

Currently restaurants and bars are open for take-out, drive-through and delivery service only. With Step 1, expected to go into effect June 14 if targets are met, outdoor dining with four people per table and other restrictions will be allowed.

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With Step 2, expected to go into effect 21 days after Step 1 if targets are met, outdoor dining with six people per table and other restrictions. Karaoke permitted with restrictions (outdoor).

With Step 3, expected to go into effect 21 days after Step 2 if targets are met, indoor dining with capacity and some other restrictions will be allowed. Outdoor dining with capacity limited to permit two-metre physical distancing. Buffets will be permitted and indoor karoake will be permitted with restrictions.

“As a result of the strict public health measures we introduced to stop the spread of COVID-19 variants, we are seeing a steady improvement in our situation as ICU and hospital numbers begin to stabilize,” said Premier Doug Ford in a press release. “While we must remain conscious of the continued threat the virus poses, with millions of Ontarians having received at least their first dose of vaccine we can now begin the process of a slow and cautious re-opening of the province in full consultation with our public health professionals.”

Outline of the three steps

Roadmap to Reopen outlines three steps to easing public health measures, guided by the following principles:

Step 1 (60 per cent of adults vaccinated with one dose) – An initial focus on resuming outdoor activities with smaller crowds where the risk of transmission is lower, and permitting retail with restrictions. This includes allowing outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people, outdoor dining with up to four people per table and non-essential retail at 15 per cent capacity.

Step 2 (70 per cent of adults vaccinated with one dose and 20 per cent vaccinated with two doses) – Further expanding outdoor activities and resuming limited indoor services with small numbers of people where face coverings are worn. This includes outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people, outdoor sports and leagues, overnight camps, personal care services where face coverings can be worn and with capacity limits, as well as indoor religious services, rites or ceremony gatherings at 15 per cent capacity.

Step 3 (70 to 80 per cent of adults vaccinated with one dose and 25 per cent vaccinated with two doses) – Expanding access to indoor settings, with restrictions, including where there are larger numbers of people and where face coverings can’t always be worn. This includes indoor sports and recreational fitness; indoor dining, museums, art galleries and libraries, and casinos and bingo halls, with capacity limits.

The province will remain in each step for at least 21 days to evaluate any impacts on key public health and health system indicators. If at the end of the 21 days, the following vaccination thresholds have been met, along with positive trends in other key public health and health system indicators, then the province will move to the next step.

The provincewide emergency brake restrictions remain in effect while the province assesses when it will be moving to Step One of the roadmap with the Stay at Home order expiring on June 2. During this time, the government will continue to work with stakeholders on reopening plans to ensure full awareness of when and how they can begin to safely reopen.

Read Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopen.