On Monday, June 8, the Ontario government announced that it is getting more people back to work and more recreational activities open by moving forward with a regional approach, allowing some regions to advance to Stage 2 of reopening the province. Oakville and the municipalities of Halton, remain in Stage 1.
Social gatherings now permitted in groups of 10 or less
Starting Friday, June 12, the province has increased the limit on social gatherings from five to 10 people across the province, regardless of whether a region has moved to Stage 2.
Additionally, all places of worship in Ontario are now allowed to open with physical distancing in place and attendance limited to no more than 30 per cent of the building capacity to ensure the safety of worshippers.
Ontarians encouraged to establish “social circles”
On June 12, the province issued a statement encouraging Ontarians to establish a social “circle” of no more than 10 people who can interact, including those outside the immediate household, and come into close contact with one another without physical distancing, effective immediately.
The rules for social circles are different from the proposed expansion of social gatherings from five to 10 people: social gatherings can be any 10 people from outside your household, but where physical distancing of at least two metres should be maintained. Social circles however mean people can enjoy close contact with members of their circle. Public health advice, including frequent hand washing, should be maintained.
The province has developed a practical step-by-step guide to help people safely develop and join a social circle.
Halton municipalities urge province to move Halton to Stage 2
Halton’s Regional Chair along with the Mayors of Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville sent a letter to the Ontario Premier on June 9 suggesting how the Halton community has met the criteria set by the province to move into Stage 2.
Mayor Burton repeals Physical Distancing By-law
On June 11, Mayor Rob Burton announced the repeal of the town’s Physical Distancing By-law 2020-055 to recognize how far the community has come in moving towards a “new normal”, and to support efforts to move forward with recovery.
Mayor Burton stressed that while the by-law is being repealed, residents still need to follow public health guidelines to stay home if you feel sick, wash your hands frequently, continue to practice two-metre physical distancing, wear a face covering if physical distancing is not possible, and to follow all provincial emergency orders such as limiting gathering to less than 10 people.
Masks to be mandatory on Oakville Transit effective July 2
Following the strong recommendation of Halton Public Health and the Governments of Ontario and Canada, effective July 2, 2020, non-medical masks or face coverings will be mandatory when travelling on Oakville Transit to help keep customers and operators safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Children under the age of two, people with disabilities or other medical conditions that prevent them from wearing any mask will not be required to wear one. It’s important to remember, not all disabilities or medical conditions are visible. Fare collection and front door boarding for all customers will also resume on July 2, 2020.
In addition, in an effort to protect passengers and drivers from COVID-19, Oakville Transit is installing protective driver shields around the bus operator cab on all conventional buses so customers can board and pay fares at the front.