Stay-at-home orders expire, public safety measures to stay

Ontarians will no longer be required to stay home but all other restrictions will remain in place until the province enters step one of its reopening plan.

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The province’s stay-at-home orders are set to expire June 2 but most public and workplace measures will stay in place until the province enters step one of its reopening plan.

The stay-at-home orders, originally issued April 7, required Ontarians to remain in their homes except when necessary or for exercise. As of June 2 Ontarians can leave their homes for non-essential reasons.

Outdoor gatherings are to include no more than five people and essential retail stores must maintain a 25 per cent capacity.

Indoor gathering are prohibited except with members of the same household.

“As we continue to accelerate second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for Ontarians, maintaining public health measures will ensure we continue to protect our hospital capacity and help stop the spread of COVID-19 variants,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health at a news conference on Tuesday.

In May the province revealed its three-step reopening plan.

It said the province would enter step one of the reopening plan two weeks after 60 per cent of province has had its first dose of the vaccine.

The province has already met its target vaccination rate of 60 per cent but Elliott said other factors like hospitalizations and ICU admissions must be considered.

 The projected date for step one of the province’s reopening plan is June 14.

“We’re anticipating we’ll hit the milestones by June 14, we do not anticipate it will be later,” Elliott said.

Step one will see the opening of non-essential retail with a capacity of 15 per cent, outdoor dining and outdoor activities with limited crowds.

On Tuesday Ontario reported 699 cases of COVID-19 — the fewest new cases in a day since October 2020.

This week the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) stated that Canadians should receive their second dose of the vaccine as soon as possible.

The original recommendation was to delay second shots for up to four months.

In a release the  NACI said: “With the increase of COVID-19 vaccine supply in Canada, second doses should be offered as soon as possible, with priority given to those at highest risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 disease after or concurrent with first doses for all remaining eligible populations.”

The NACI determined that mixing vaccines was safe and the province said that Ontarians will have a choice about which vaccine they receive for their second shot.

Elliott said people are less hesitant to get the AstraZeneca vaccine as a second shot and she expects 254,500 doses to be shipped to pharmacies and primary care physicians for use as second shots.

Visit Lambton public Health to register for a second vaccine shot or visit to find your closest pharmacy location.