STAGE 2 ARRIVES: Hair salons, more retail, outdoor kids camps OK

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It’s going to be a good hair day.

Ontario enters Step 2 of the Roadmap to Reopen on Wednesday, allowing expanded outdoor activities and the return of personal care services such as hair salons and barbershops.

Outdoor dining at restaurants will be permitted for groups of up to six people at a table, indoor gatherings are allowed for up to five people and stores in shopping malls can open with some restrictions.

Overnight kids camps, public libraries and larger than currently allowed outdoor fitness classes are also permitted under Step 2.

Residents can now attend sporting events, cinemas, and horse races — all outside and at 25% capacity.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore said the province needs to proceed with caution.

“While this does mean that 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,” Moore said Tuesday. “We want to ensure that the gains we’ve made are maintained and that we do not step backwards in our reopening efforts and once again impose restrictions.”

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On what was the last day of school for many Ontario students, Moore said the hope is that classes will resume in the fall.

Before moving to Step 3 of the reopening plan, he’ll be watching vaccination and hospitalization rates as well as the reproductive rate of the virus, Moore said.

Ontario reported 299 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, although about 90 happened last year in Toronto and were caught in a data cleaning initiative.

The province reported 10 public health units recorded zero new cases Tuesday.

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Toronto, which has now vaccinated more than one million adult residents, saw an additional 130 cases, of which about 90 dated back to last year.

Peel Region reported just 20 new cases.

Waterloo continued to struggle with 69 new cases Tuesday — the highest number in the province after factoring in the Toronto data issue.

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Mobile immunization clinics have been sent to the Waterloo Region to increase the number of fully-vaccinated residents as the Delta variant spreads through the community.

Almost 14.5 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario with more than 4.5 million residents fully vaccinated with two doses.

Dr. Barbara Yaffe, associate chief medical officer of health, said the Delta variant, a more infectious and possibly more dangerous strain of COVID-19, is beginning to dominate in Ontario.

The Delta variant, which originated in India, appears to be responsible for a surge in cases in the Grey Bruce region and in Waterloo, she said.

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  1. File photo of bar patrons enjoying some beers with bartender Tonya MacWilliams at the Fill Station Sports Bar in Toronto on Aug. 1, 2020.

    Wondering what you’ll be able to do under Step 2 of Ontario’s reopening plan?

  2. UHN (University Health Network) health-care technicians prepare syringes of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for front-line health-care workers at a UHN clinic at the MaRS building on Jan. 7, 2021.

    Ontario to enter Step 2 of reopening plan on June 30

  3. None

    BONOKOSKI: After months of lockdown, life’s going to feel weird

“We have seen what the Delta variant can do in other jurisdictions around the world, the United Kingdom, Israel, and Australia have all seen significant surges in COVID-19 cases attributed to the Delta variant, and this has resulted in reimposing restrictions in those countries that have once been loosened,” Yaffe said.

“And in Ontario, since it was declared a variant of concern, we have had about 20 outbreaks where Delta is the dominant strain, and many more instances where there’s been at least one case of the Delta variant.”

aartuso@postmedia.com

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