Ontario Is Entering Step 2 On Wednesday & Here's What You Need To Know

From info about shopping malls to nail salons, we've got you covered.

Ontario Is Entering Step 2 On Wednesday & Here's What You Need To Know
Ontario Editor

Starting at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, June 30, the majority of the province will officially move into step two of the reopening plan.

While the province will enjoy the reopening of salons, malls and more, the Region of Waterloo will remain in step one as they continue to battle the Delta variant.

We've asked you on Instagram what you wanted to know about the newest guidelines and have compiled a list of answers below.

Why isn't Waterloo moving into step two with the rest of the province?

On June 24, the Region of Waterloo announced that it would not be moving into step two with the rest of the province.

Instead, the region is planning on staying in step one until mid-July as the spot continues to face outbreaks of the Delta variant.

Waterloo has been struggling to keep its case numbers under control as they deal with variants of concern. In fact, daily case numbers have surpassed those of Toronto a couple of times earlier this month.

What are the gathering rules for step two?

When the province moves into step two on Wednesday, outdoor gatherings will increase from 10 people to 25.

On top of this, indoor gatherings will be permitted with a maximum of five people.

Gathering limits at restaurants are also changing, with six people now allowed to be seated at a table outdoors as opposed to four.

Will malls be reopening? What about change rooms?

Indoor shopping malls will be permitted to open their doors for step two of the reopening, however, things will look a little different.

Non-essential stores will only be able to operate at a 25% capacity, while essential stores can operate at a 50% capacity.

Vaughan Mills, which plans to open on Wednesday, told Narcity that common areas will be closed off and only a limited amount of people will be allowed in an elevator.

On top of this, some malls will have virtual waiting systems that will let customers know when it is their turn to enter a store.

The Ontario government also informed Narcity that change rooms have been permitted to open since step one.

What are the rules for salons?

Personal care services, including hair and nail salons, will be able to open on Wednesday at 25% capacity.

Appointments will be required and only services that don't require the removal of a face mask will be permitted.

Toronto hairstylist Kristjan Hayden, from Civello Salon & Spa, told Narcity that while full hair services will be allowed, some beauty procedures will be limited. This includes makeup services and facials.

Will museums be allowed to open in step two?

Indoor museums will not be allowed to reopen in step two but will be able to welcome customers back when the province enters step three.

Currently, outdoor zoos, waterparks and amusements parks are some of the attractions that are allowed to reopen in the province.

Museums, art galleries and aquariums will remain closed.

What about gyms?

While indoor fitness centres will remain closed until step three, that doesn't mean you can't get a workout in.

Outdoor fitness classes are permitted under step two, and unlike the 10 person limit that we saw in step one, there is no specific limit on the number of people who can attend.

However, guests must be able to keep three metres apart at all times.

Why aren't we moving into step three if we've reached the vaccination goal?

Currently, Ontario has reached the vaccination goals that are needed to move into step three of the reopening plan. According to the Roadmap to Reopen, the province needs to see 70 to 80% of Ontario adults with one dose, and 25% of adults fully vaccinated to move forward.

Currently, roughly 77% of Ontario adults have received their first dose, while 37% are fully vaccinated.

However, in a press conference on Tuesday, Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario's new chief medical officer of health, revealed that vaccination rates are only one of the metrics that need to be met before moving into step three.

"I know everyone is following the immunization rate and that's a very important metric for us," Moore stated. "But it's only one of the metrics. We're watching hospitalization rates, the impact on our intensive care partners, the number of people that need intensive care requiring ventilation. We are also looking at how fast the virus spreads."

In fact, Moore says that a 21-day interval between step two and step three is "prudent."

Allysha Howse
Ontario Editor