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Frustration builds as Ontario remains in Step 2 of reopening despite vaccination levels

Many people are pointing to Ontario's first and second-dose vaccination rate as evidence for why the province should already be in Step 3 of reopening or beyond even though the province's roadmap very clearly lays out a 21+ day wait between each step
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As the move into Step 3 of provincial reopening inches closer and closer, the level of frustration also seems to be rising higher and higher as some wonder why we're not already there.

Ontario is scheduled to enter the third phase of its three-step reopening plan on July 21st but, with just two weeks left, there are many who say that's two weeks too long.

"We have crushed the second vaccination requirement for Step 3," said Julie Kwiecinski, Director of Provincial Affairs for Ontario at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). "We're almost at 50 per cent."

The provinces 'Roadmap to reopening' does set a Step 3 vaccination threshold for adults at 70-80 per cent with one dose and 25 per cent with two. Recent data, meantime, shows more than 77 per cent of Ontarians aged 12 or older have received at least one dose while just shy of 47 per cent have been double-dosed.

"So businesses and the people are saying, 'I made all these sacrifices, what are we waiting for'," Kwiecinski said. "Did the government change the goalposts and didn't tell us? Are there new thresholds and we don't know? It's incredibly frustrating."

That said, despite the vaccination targets seeming to have been met, the province did also make clear when it announced it's three-step roadmap back in May those vaccination rates were in addition to other key public health and health care indicators, and that there would be a 21-day or more break in between each step to gauge how those indicators were responding to the loosening of restrictions.

That wait, however, has been a large part of what's led frustration levels to rise as Ontarians have watched other provinces loosen restrictions further.

"We're in the dust from all the other provinces," said Kwiecinski. "Alberta and Saskatchewan, they're fully open, we still have to wait before we can even eat a hamburger inside an Ontario restaurant."

"The saddest thing of all is there's no end in sight," she said. "When will Ontario be fully open with no restrictions? Is there a Step 4? Is there a Step 5?"

The premier has said he intends to unveil what comes next in the next few weeks suggesting he wants to hit Step 3 first.

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