Ontario reopening some outdoor amenities and activities this Saturday, confirms Medical Officer of Health Roumeliotis

Natascha Wood
Nation Valley News

EASTERN ONTARIO — In his twice-weekly media briefing on May 20th, Eastern Ontario Medical Officer of Health Dr Paul Roumeliotis provided updates on the latest COVID-19 developments in the region, reporting that there have been six new cases since yesterday. Four were in Prescott-Russell, one was in SD&G, and one was in Cornwall. This is the first time Eastern Ontario has recorded a single-digit increase in several weeks.

There are still nine patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and three in the ICU. Meanwhile, congregate living outbreaks is staying stable at two. They are at Residence St-Mathieu and Rockland Manor. The outbreak at Farley Windows and Doors in Alexandria is still ongoing.

Effective on May 22nd, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., Ontario will allow the re-opening the certain outdoor amenities, including marinas, sports fields, baseball diamonds, tennis fields, golf courses, bike trails, horse riding facilities, playgrounds, and boat launches will be open. Outdoor gatherings will be limited to five people from different households.

This comes following the provincial government’s announcement that there is now a new reopening plan to replace the colour-coded framework, called Roadmap to Reopening. It lays out a three-step route towards a more pre-pandemic Ontario, depending on the percentage of the province’s vaccinated population.

Stage one focuses more on outdoor activities, but also lifts some restrictions on retail. Outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed, including outdoor dining with up to four people per table and non-essential retail at 15 per cent capacity. It is expected that the province will enter this stage on June 14th, though Roumeliotis theorizes it may come even earlier, once the Stay-At-Home order expires and sixty per cent of Ontarians have been vaccinated with at least one dose.

Stage two will begin once 70 per cent of the province’s population have been vaccinated once, and 20% have been vaccinated two. The benchmark for stage three is 70 to 80 per cent of adults vaccinated with one dose and 25 per cent vaccinated with two doses. The province will remain in each stage for 21 days to properly assess the impacts of re-opening.

In the EOHU, the vaccine rollout is quickly speeding up, aided by larger deliveries from Pfizer and Moderna. As of today, the EOHU has administered 91,773 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, bringing the region closer to immunity every day. The Doctor confirmed that the Health Unit is also adding 27,000 appointments for vaccinations, which will be available to book in the next few days for those in the 18+ bracket. Additionally, 41 pharmacies in the EOHU’s area will be receiving deliveries of the Moderna vaccine, starting this week.

For more information about Ontario’s new reopening plan, visit the provincial website. To book vaccination appointments, visit the provincial booking system. The next media briefing with Eastern Ontario Medical Officer of Health Dr Paul Roumeliotis will be on Tuesday, May 25th.

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