As the province lifts a number of COVID-19 restrictions for some stores, services and activities in coming days, the local health unit asks people to continue staying safe every step of the way.
As of 12:01 am on Friday (June 11), Ontario will enter Step 1 of its Roadmap to Reopen. In this first step, non-essential retailers will be able to reopen for limited in-person shopping, limited outdoor dining on restaurant patios will be allowed, more outdoor activities like camping, fitness classes and religious services can resume, and outdoor gathering sizes will double to up to 10 people.
More information on Ontario’s three-step reopening plan and a complete list of what is allowed in Step 1 is available at www.hkpr.on.ca.
The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit says in a media release that while COVID-19 cases are trending downwards, the need to continue taking precautions to stop the spread has never been more important as the economy gradually reopens this summer.
“While we are pleased to see more services and amenities reopening, we still need to be cautious,” says Dr. Natalie Bocking, medical officer of health with the HKPR District Health Unit. “As we gradually return to normal with more activities and options, let’s be sure to do safely.”
Bocking says an essential part to getting through the pandemic is to have as many people vaccinated as possible against COVID-19. That is why she encourages everyone age 12 years and older to book appointments for their first or second doses.
The health unit is adding more appointment bookings in coming weeks at its mass immunization clinic sites in Haliburton County, Northumberland County, and Kawartha Lakes.
People can book vaccine appointments by visiting www.ontario.ca/bookvaccine or calling 1-833-943-3900. If individuals cannot immediately book a local appointment, they should check back as the Health Unit will be adding more clinic slots on the provincial booking system.
Area residents can also contact local pharmacies and their family doctors for vaccine options.
“We have made considerable progress with COVID-19 vaccination efforts to date, but we still have a little further to go to ensure everyone gets two doses of vaccine,” Bocking adds.
As Ontario gets set to reopen more parts of the economy in coming weeks, she encourages everyone to continue taking precautions every step of the way. Stay home if sick, keep two metres apart from anyone outside your household, wear a mask when inside public places and outdoors if physical distancing is not possible, wash hands thoroughly and often with soap and water, cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, follow the COVID-19 rules and directions in businesses, and be patient if having to wait in line due to indoor capacity limits.