Ontario to move to last stage of reopening on July 16

Ontario leaders have decided to move to the next step of reopening on July 16, allowing more activities to resume and raising the capacity limit for indoor gatherings.

The change will remove limits on the number of people seated at tables for indoor dining and raise capacity limits for retailers as long as they permit physical distancing of two meters. Buffets and indoor karaoke will be permitted with restrictions.

Capacity limits on social gatherings will be raised to 25 for indoor gatherings and 100 for outdoor gatherings.

The office of Premier Doug Ford said the change is possible becuase of continuing improvements in key public health and health care indicators and the provincewide vaccination rate surpassing targets.

"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," Ford said in a news release.

"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," Ford said.

As of July 8, 77% of Ontario residents age 12 and over had received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.