After more than a year, in-person real estate open houses will be allowed to resume starting next week.
On Friday, the provincial government announced it would be entering Step 3 of its roadmap to reopen on Friday, July 16 at 12:01 am, which means indoor dining, indoor fitness activities, cinemas, and nightclubs can reopen for the first time in months, but capacity restrictions will remain until August.
The government said Ontario will remain in Step 3 for at least 21 days, and until 80% of Ontarians 12+ have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 75% have received a second. As of Friday, 78% of Ontarians age 12 and up have received a first dose and 50% have received a second.
“Thanks to the tireless efforts of our frontline heroes, and the ongoing commitment of Ontarians to get vaccinated, we have surpassed the targets we set in order to enter Step Three of our Roadmap,” said Premier Doug Ford. “While this is welcome news for everyone who wants a return to normal, we will not slow down our efforts to fully vaccinate everyone who wants to be and put this pandemic behind us once and for all.”
As part of Step 3, real estate open houses can resume, however, there will be a capacity restriction in place to ensure that everyone inside can maintain a physical distance of two metres.
This comes after in-person open houses have been temporarily suspended throughout the province after OREA called on realtors to stop holding them amid the province's first wave of the pandemic last spring.
However, after cases improved last summer, open houses were allowed to resume, only to be halted again in hotspots during the fall for the second time.
According to the province, this is what else can resume under Step 3:
- Outdoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 100 people with limited exceptions;
- Indoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 25 people;
- Indoor religious services, rites or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services permitted with physical distancing;
- Indoor dining permitted with no limits on the number of patrons per table with physical distancing and other restrictions still in effect;
- Indoor sports and recreational fitness facilities to open subject to a maximum 50 per cent capacity of the indoor space. Capacity for indoor spectators is 50 per cent of the usual seating capacity or 1,000 people, whichever is less. Capacity for outdoor spectators is 75 per cent of the usual seating capacity or 15,000 people, whichever is less;
- Indoor meeting and event spaces permitted to operate with physical distancing and other restrictions still in effect and capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity or 1,000 people, (whichever is less);
- Essential and non-essential retail with with capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres;
- Personal care services, including services requiring the removal of a face covering, with capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres;
- Museums, galleries, historic sites, aquariums, zoos, landmarks, botanical gardens, science centres, casinos/bingo halls, amusement parks, fairs and rural exhibitions, festivals, with capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity indoors and 75 per cent capacity outdoors;
- Concert venues, cinemas, and theatres permitted to operate at:
- up to 50 per cent capacity indoors or a maximum limit of 1,000 people for seated events (whichever is less)
- up to 75 per cent capacity outdoors or a maximum limit of 5,000 people for unseated events (whichever is less); and up to 75 per cent capacity outdoors or a maximum of 15,000 people for events with fixed seating (whichever is less).
- Indoor food or drink establishments where dance facilities are provided, including nightclubs and restobars, permitted up to 25 per cent capacity or up to a maximum limit of 250 people (whichever is less).
However, face coverings in indoor public settings and physical distancing requirements remain in place throughout Step 3.
The latest announcement comes as Ontario reported 183 new cases of COVID-19 and nine additional deaths Friday, as the seven-day rolling average of new cases fell below 200 for the first time since early September 2020.