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Ontarians return to gyms, restaurant dining rooms as further restrictions lifted – Toronto Star

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Ontarians returned to gyms, movie theatres and restaurant dining rooms on Friday as the province rolled back more public health restrictions.

Step 3 of the province’s reopening plan, which took effect just after midnight, allows fitness facilities, cinemas, indoor dining, museums and other venues to reopen after a long shutdown aimed at limiting spread of COVID-19.

Hazel Robichaud and her husband were waiting outside The Crooked Cue restaurant in Mississauga, Ont., to grab lunch. Earlier on Friday the couple got their second COVID-19 shots at a pharmacy across the street.

“We’re glad to be able to get back in to indoor dining, because it’s too hot to sit outside,” Robichaud said, adding they’re happy to support local businesses struggling to survive due to strict pandemic measures.

‘I’m glad that the restaurants are opening up because … it would be a shame that all of them disappear.“

Several guests were seated inside Maggie’s Diner, also in Mississauga, by mid-morning, with others on the patio. Owner Sam Aly said the return of indoor service was a relief.

“I got more customers today than I’ve gotten all month, so it looks positive,” Aly said. “Now we can hopefully stand on two feet and try to make some money and try to get out of this debt we’re in.”

Under Step 2 of the reopening plan restaurants were limited to takeout and patio service.

Some restaurants did not reopen on Friday due to lack of staff. They said many employees left the industry for other opportunities during the pandemic and the jobs have been hard to fill.

Rules around masking and physical distancing are still in place under Step 3, with some exceptions. The third phase of the reopening plan also allows social gatherings of 25 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.

In Oakville, Ont., Ian Turner decided to use his day off work to see a movie with his son on the first day cinemas reopened. He said he was “a little concerned” but felt comfortable wearing a mask inside the Cineplex.

“I think everything will be fine and safe and it’ll be nice to be able to get out again and enjoy a movie on a big screen,” he said.

At gyms, the province has said patrons don’t need to wear masks inside when using equipment, but several people at two Toronto gyms still chose to keep their faces covered as they used the machines on Friday.

Kelvin Waldin said he wasn’t bothered by wearing a mask during his workout at a Planet Fitness gym, but felt “iffy” seeing some fellow patrons without them. Otherwise, he said he wasn’t overly worried about safety.

“So far, this gym is good,” he said. “It has limited equipment but that’s understandable with safety measures. I’m not concerned.”

Raj Meduri, another one of the dozen or so people working out at Planet Fitness on Friday morning, said he’s fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and doesn’t mind if others at the gym choose not to be.

“Vaccinations are a personal thing but coming back to safety measures like masks and disinfecting equipment is important,” he said. “For me, the main thing is that I get to work out.”

Ontario’s move to Step 3 came days earlier than scheduled thanks to positive trends in COVID-19 vaccination coverage and other public health indicators.

As of Friday, 79 per cent of adult Ontarians had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 60 per cent were fully vaccinated.

Premier Doug Ford came out firmly against mandating vaccines for workers on Thursday and reiterated that the province isn’t planning to introduce a “vaccine passport” system allowing access to certain activities, as has been proposed in other jurisdictions.

However, the government has said people can present receipts from their shots if businesses or other settings ask for it.

Ford thanked Ontarians on Friday for following public health orders and getting vaccinated during the pandemic.

“I’m confident that there are only brighter days ahead,” Ford said in a social media video. “Because of your efforts, we are closer than ever before to returning to normal lives.”

Ontario reported 159 new COVID-19 cases and 10 deaths from the virus on Friday.

– With files from Holly McKenzie-Sutter

___

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 15, 2021.

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Ontario reports 170 COVID-19 cases, 3 deaths; 124K more vaccines administered – Global News

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Ontario reported 170 COVID-19 cases on Saturday, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 549,156.

“Locally, there are 44 new cases in Toronto, 26 in Peel Region, 17 in Hamilton, 15 in the Region of Waterloo and 13 in Grey Bruce,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said.

For comparison, last Saturday 176 cases were reported.

Read more:
‘Vaccine certificates’ may speed up reopening, incentivize vaccination: Ontario science table

Three new deaths were also announced on July 24, bringing the provincial virus-related death toll to 9,311.

A total of 538,421 coronavirus cases are considered resolved, which is up by 150 and is 98 per cent of all confirmed cases.

More than 19,100 additional tests were completed. Ontario has now completed a total of 16,451,025 tests and 5,325 remain under investigation.

The province indicated that the positivity rate for the last day was 0.8 per cent, which down slightly from Friday’s report, when it was 0.9 per cent, and up from last Saturday’s report, when it was 0.6 per cent.

Provincial figures showed there are 132 people in intensive care due to COVID-19 (down by four), 86 of whom are on a ventilator (up by two).


Click to play video: 'Science advisory table proposes COVID-19 vaccine certificates for Ontario'



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Science advisory table proposes COVID-19 vaccine certificates for Ontario


Science advisory table proposes COVID-19 vaccine certificates for Ontario

Here is a breakdown of Ontario’s cases by age and gender:

  • 273,725 people are male
  • 271,734 people are female
  • 88,751 people are 19 and under
  • 205,695 people are 20 to 39
  • 156,528 people are 40 to 59
  • 72,892 people are 60 to 79
  • 25,196 people are 80 and over

The province notes that not all cases have a reported age or gender.

The province also notes that the number of cases publicly reported each day may not align with case counts reported by local public health units on a given day. Local public health units report when they were first notified of a case, which can be updated and changed as information becomes available. Data may also be pulled at different times.

As of 8 p.m. Friday, 18,848,661 COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered in Ontario, marking an increase of 124,261. Of those, 105,628 were second doses.

In Ontario, 80.7 per cent of adults aged 18-plus have received at least one vaccine dose and 67.1 per cent are fully vaccinated.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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NB businesses ponder how to proceed once pandemic restrictions are removed – CBC.ca

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How fast to return to normal? That’s the question some business owners are asking in the wake of news that New Brunswick will remove its COVID-19 restrictions in less than a week.

More than 16 months have passed since the province implemented restrictions limiting the number of customers inside businesses, and enforcing mandatory masking and physical distancing. 

At the end of the day next Friday, July, 30, those pandemic restrictions will end. 

But when the clock strikes midnight don’t expect those precautions to magically disappear from all businesses.

The province has said businesses can choose to ease out of the restrictions more slowly if they want. 

Dave Traboulsee, the owner of River Valley Footwear in downtown Fredericton, said that’s exactly what he plans to do. 

Dave Traboulsee will start allowing more customers into his store once restrictions are lifted, but doesn’t expect to operate at full capacity right away. (Gary Moore/CBC)

Gauging by what he’s heard from his customers, he’s planning a cautious approach. 

“I don’t think we can fully go back to normal yet — there’s still a lot of anxiety out there with shopping,” he said. 

Until now he’s only been allowing people from two bubbles inside the store at a time.  

He plans to increase that capacity slightly once the restrictions are removed, but said he hopes to talk to other business owners in the area to get a sense about whether masks should still be worn. 

“It’s quite a big move to go from certain restrictions and keeping masks on to a free-for-all — and I don’t think we can go to a free-for-all,” he said.

Staff at Café Cest la Vie in Moncton hope the move to the green phase will bring more people back to work downtown. (Submitted/Facebook)

In Moncton, those who work at Café Cest la Vie are hoping the move will bring more people back to work downtown again, and in turn, bring more people back into their shop.

Rebecca McCabe is a barista at the cafe and said masks will no longer be required, and they intend to get back to doing events again, like poetry readings and live music. 

“It also means it’s an opportunity for us to have more people in the cafe so we can open up our capacity again.”

McCabe said they are still trying to figure out if there will be any restrictions in place at the cafe, but generally expects it to be a return to normal.

“Everyone seems pretty excited honestly — I think it will be nothing but help,” she said.

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Ontario reports 170 COVID-19 cases, 3 deaths; 124K more vaccines administered – q107.com

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Ontario reported 170 COVID-19 cases on Saturday, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 549,156.

“Locally, there are 44 new cases in Toronto, 26 in Peel Region, 17 in Hamilton, 15 in the Region of Waterloo and 13 in Grey Bruce,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said.

For comparison, last Saturday 176 cases were reported.

Read more:
‘Vaccine certificates’ may speed up reopening, incentivize vaccination: Ontario science table

Three new deaths were also announced on July 24, bringing the provincial virus-related death toll to 9,311.

A total of 538,421 coronavirus cases are considered resolved, which is up by 150 and is 98 per cent of all confirmed cases.

More than 19,100 additional tests were completed. Ontario has now completed a total of 16,451,025 tests and 5,325 remain under investigation.

The province indicated that the positivity rate for the last day was 0.8 per cent, which down slightly from Friday’s report, when it was 0.9 per cent, and up from last Saturday’s report, when it was 0.6 per cent.

Provincial figures showed there are 132 people in intensive care due to COVID-19 (down by four), 86 of whom are on a ventilator (up by two).

Here is a breakdown of Ontario’s cases by age and gender:

  • 273,725 people are male
  • 271,734 people are female
  • 88,751 people are 19 and under
  • 205,695 people are 20 to 39
  • 156,528 people are 40 to 59
  • 72,892 people are 60 to 79
  • 25,196 people are 80 and over

The province notes that not all cases have a reported age or gender.

The province also notes that the number of cases publicly reported each day may not align with case counts reported by local public health units on a given day. Local public health units report when they were first notified of a case, which can be updated and changed as information becomes available. Data may also be pulled at different times.

As of 8 p.m. Friday, 18,848,661 COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered in Ontario, marking an increase of 124,261. Of those, 105,628 were second doses.

In Ontario, 80.7 per cent of adults aged 18-plus have received at least one vaccine dose and 67.1 per cent are fully vaccinated.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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