This Version Posted: July 19, 2021
- As of Friday, July 16, Ontario will enter Step Three of its reopening plan. It is expected to remain in this phase for approximately 21 days.
- Step Three rules will apply to Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes.
- In general, Step Three will allow more indoor activities to resume, including eating inside restaurants and working/exercising in gyms/fitness clubs. Larger indoor and outdoor gatherings will be allowed, and capacity limits for businesses and stores will be eased. Physical distancing rules will still apply and masks/face coverings must continue to be worn inside public places.
- For complete details on what is and isn’t allowed in Step Three, click here for Ontario Regulation 520/21 Rules for Areas in Stage Three.
On This Page
- Highlights – Step Three
- Specific Rules
- About Ontario’s Three-Step Roadmap to Reopen
- Additional Resources
Highlights – Step Three
- Larger social gatherings are allowed. Up to 25 people can gather indoors, while up to 100 people can gather outdoors.
- Gyms/fitness clubs can reopen for indoor use, but at 50% capacity
- Restaurants can provide in-person dining inside their premises
- Movie theatres can reopen, at 50% capacity indoors or a maximum of 1,000 people (whichever is less)
- More people are allowed inside businesses and stores. Capacity is limited to the number of people who can maintain 2 metres physical distance.
- Larger indoor religious services (including weddings and funerals) are allowed, but capacity is limited to the number of people who can maintain 2 metres physical distance.
- Masks/face coverings must continue to be worn inside public places, unless exempted. Masks need to cover a person’s mouth, nose and chin
- Personal care services that require the removal of a face covering can now resume.
- More people are allowed to visit museums, galleries, historic sites, aquariums, zoos, landmarks, botanical gardens, science centres, casinos/bingo halls, amusement parks, fairs and rural exhibitions, and festivals. Indoor capacity cannot exceed 50%, while outdoor capacity is at 75%.
Specific Rules – Step Three
Read on for more details on Stage Three rules.
Indoor and Outdoor Gatherings
- Up to 25 people are now allowed at indoor social gatherings and organized public events.
- A maximum of 100 people is permitted for outdoor social gatherings and organized public events.
- Retirement homes are exempt from gathering limits.
- Stay home if sick. Do not attend any gatherings. Click here for additional advice about gathering for holidays and celebrations.
- Masks must be worn at organized indoor public events. Physical distancing (staying 2 metres apart from others outside your household) is also required at organized indoor public events.
- While Step Three does not require masks to be worn at social gatherings inside private homes, face coverings are required in common areas (hallways) in multi-unit dwellings like apartments, condominiums, etc. . Wearing a mask indoors regardless of where you are can reduce the spread of COVID-19.
- Ensure you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Ask others attending the gathering what their vaccination status is, so you can take appropriate precautions such as wearing a mask and staying two metres apart from others outside your household.
- To reduce your risk of COVID-19, continue to practise physical distancing at any gathering you attend.
- COVID-19 is less likely to be spread outdoors than in, so consider meeting others outdoors. If meeting inside, open windows and doors to allow for good ventilation.
- Continue to stop the spread of COVID-19. Click here additional COVID-19 prevention measures.
more advice for gathering with others:
- Read the Public Health Agency of Canada guidance on Vaccinated Against COVID-19… What it Means to Me.
- Use the online My COVID-19 Visit Risk calculator for more direction on planning a safe visit.
Religious Services, Weddings and Funerals
- Indoor and outdoor weddings, funerals and religious services are allowed.
- Capacity at these services is limited to the number of people who can distance at least two metres.
- Whether indoors or outdoors, attendees must stay 2 metres apart from each other, except if they live in the same household
- Masks/face coverings must be worn inside when you are within 2 metres of another person who is not part of their household. Mask use is also recommended outdoors if you cannot stay 2 metres apart from someone outside your household
- Drive-in services, rites or ceremonies can still be offered
- Consider livestreaming services for those who are unable or do not feel comfortable attending in-person
- Receptions are permitted, with up to 25 people indoors and a maximum of 100 people outdoors
- Click here for more information on COVID-19 prevention measures at places of worship.
Businesses and Services
- Get full details on restrictions for businesses by clicking here.
- All businesses must have a COVID-19 safety plan in place that is also posted in a visible location for people to see. Click here for a sample.
- Businesses must ensure anyone entering their premise wears a mask/face covering properly (unless exempted) and stays two metres apart from others
- Cleaning and disinfecting of the business premise should be done as frequently as needed to maintain sanitary conditions.
- More people are allowed inside essential and non-essential businesses, stores and malls (although loitering in malls is not allowed). Capacity is limited to the number of people who can maintain 2 metres physical distance. The maximum number of customers must be posted in a visible location. For a handy resource to help you figure out store capacity limits, use the Retail Council of Canada’s Store Capacity Calculator.
- Restaurants and bars can now offer indoor dining and buffet meals, as well as outdoor patio dining. There is no limit on the number of people seated per table. Capacity inside and outside the restaurant/bar is limited to the number of people who can maintain 2 metres physical distance. Tables must be spaced at least 2 metres apart or have a barrier separating them. Restaurants must record the name and contact information of every customer who dines in.
- Indoor food or drink establishments where dance facilities are provided, including nightclubs and ‘restobars’, can open up to 25% capacity or a maximum of 250 people (whichever is less).
- All businesses must ensure physical distancing is in place for any customers lined up outdoors. Lineups inside are not allowed, unless the business ensures customers wear a mask and stay at least 2 metres apart from each other.
- All staff/employees must be screened for COVID-19 prior to entry. Consider using the online Employee screening tool.
- Signs must be posted in a prominent location, informing customers/patrons to screen themselves for COVID-19 before entering. , or the one designed for customers.
- All personal care services (like hair salons and barbershops) are open, including those that require the removal of a face covering. Click here for full details
- Gyms and fitness clubs can reopen for indoor use, but at 50% capacity and with other restrictions in place. This includes maintaining 2 metres physical distance between patrons. Signs must be posted in a visible location showing the capacity limit. Gyms and fitness clubs must record the name and contact information of every customer who enters the facility for the purpose of COVID-19 contact tracing.
- For sports and recreational facilities, capacity for indoor spectators is 50% of the usual seating capacity, or 1,000 people (whichever is less). Other restrictions are also in place.
- Indoor meeting and event spaces can reopen, with physical distancing and other restrictions in place. Maximum capacity is 50% of the total indoor space, or up to 1,000 people (whichever is less)
- Real estate open houses are allowed, with capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain 2 metres physical distance.
- Driver instruction can resume. All students must be actively screened for COVID-19. Both instructors and students must wear a mask when in the vehicle.
Personal Care Services
- Personal care services, including those provided by hair salons and barbershops, manicure and pedicure salons, aesthetician services, piercing services, tanning salons, spas and tattoo studios, can reopen if they comply with certain conditions.
- Services that require the removal of a face covering are now allowed to resume.
- Oxygen bars remain closed.
- Persons who provide personal care services in the business must wear appropriate personal protective equipment (medical masks that cover nose, mouth and chin; goggles that provide eye protection).
- Appointments are required. No walk-ins are allowed.
- Employees and customers must be actively screened for COVID-19 before they enter the premises. Use the online employee screening tool and the web-based version for customers.
- The total number of customers allowed to be inside the business is limited to the number that can maintain 2 metres physical distance.
- A sign must be posted in a prominent location in the business that states the capacity limit.
- All personal care settings must have a COVID-19 safety plan in place that is also posted in a visible location for people to see. Click here for a sample.
- Any music played inside the business must be set at a level that allows for a normal conversation to take place.
- Museums, galleries, historic sites, aquariums, zoos, landmarks, botanical gardens, science centres, casinos/bingo halls, amusement parks, water parks, fairs and rural exhibitions and festivals can resume operation. Capacity is limited to 50% indoors and 75% outdoors.
- Concert venues, cinemas, and movie theatres can operate at up to 50% capacity indoors or a maximum limit of 1,000 people for seated events (whichever is less). For outdoor use, maximum capacity is set at 75% or up to 5,000 people for unseated events (whichever is less). For outdoor events with fixed seating, maximum capacity is 75% or up to 15,000 people (whichever is less), with additional restrictions.
- Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments can reopen at 50% capacity. Additional restrictions are also in place.
- Outdoor horse racing tracks and motor speedways can reopen with restrictions. For unseated events, up to 75% capacity or 5,000 people (whichever is less) is allowed. For events with fixed seating, up to 75% capacity or 15,000 people (whichever is less) is permitted. Other restrictions must also be in place. For similar indoor venues, capacity is limited to 50% or 1,000 people, whichever is less.
Activities and Amenities
- Outdoor amenities like golf courses, tennis courts, skateboarding parks, sports fields, and basketball courts remain open with restrictions. Horse riding is also permitted, with restrictions. Anyone using these amenities must stay two metres apart from anyone outside their household.
- Indoor pools are allowed to reopen at 50% capacity, and with other restrictions in place. Outdoor pools, splash pads, spray pads, whirlpools, wading pools and water slides remain open, but with capacity limited to permit physical distancing of 2 metres.
- Short-term rentals such as cottages, cabins, and resorts remain open. Along with outdoor pools, indoor pools, communal steam rooms, saunas/whirlpools and indoor fitness centres/recreational facilities at these sites are also allowed to reopen with restrictions.
- Seasonal trailer parks can operate as usual, with no limit on how long you can stay there. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 100 people, while indoor gatherings are limited to 25 people. Outdoor pools can open (but must first be inspected by a Public Health Inspector with the Health Unit).
- Hotels, motels and shared rental accommodations remain open. Amenities like indoor pools, communal steam rooms, saunas/whirlpools and indoor fitness centres/recreational facilities at these sites are also allowed to reopen with restrictions
- Marinas can be open, including most indoor amenities. Some restrictions remain in place.
- Overnight camping at campgrounds and campsites (including Ontario Parks) continues to be allowed, with restrictions.
- Community centres and multi-purpose facilities can reopen with restrictions
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Day and Overnight Camps
- Day camps and overnight camps remain open, based on guidance from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. Click here for additional guidance from Public Health Ontario for Day and Overnight Camps . You can also access the Ministry of Health’s new COVID-19 Safety Guidelines for Overnight Camps.
- The Guidance for Mental Health Resources for Camp Operators and Staff provides a list of resources on how to talk to children and youth about the COVID-19 pandemic and seek mental health supports.
Garage and yard sales are allowed, but with the following COVID-19 restrictions in place:
- Up to 100 people are allowed for outdoor sales at one time
- People should keep 2 metres apart from anyone outside their household
- It’s best to display sale items outdoors, not inside garages or other enclosed structures, as the risk of spreading COVID-19 outdoors is lower. If you decide to display items inside, no more than 25 people are allowed inside at one time (physical distancing must be maintained)
- Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer and recommend its use
- Masks must be worn inside for any sales (except if all members of the same household) and are recommended outdoors if people cannot maintain 2 metres (6 feet) physical distance from anyone outside their household
About Ontario’s Three-Step Roadmap to Reopen
Ontario’s three-step reopening plan is based on overall COVID-19 vaccination rates in Ontario and other key health indicators (such as COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, ICU occupancy and new admissions). Click here to learn more about the Roadmap to Reopen.
Click on the following links for additional support:
- COVID-19 Support at Work
- COVID-19 Safety Plan For Community Partners, Businesses and Service Providers – HKPR District Health Unit Resource
- COVID-19 Screening Tool for Customers (for Use by Businesses) – Government of Ontario Resource
- COVID-19 Screening Tool for Employees/Staff – Government of Ontario Resource
- Ontario Store Capacity Calculator – Retail Council of Canada (RCC)