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The Ontario government has confirmed that the province will enter the second stage of its COVID-19 reopening strategy two days ahead of schedule. This means that starting Wednesday, people will once again be able to host indoor gatherings of up to five people, meet with up to 25 people outdoors, and finally, after months of closure, book personal care services like hair cuts. Outdoor performances and team sports can also resume and outdoor attractions such as water parks are allowed to reopen. “Because of the tireless work of our health care heroes, and the record setting success of our vaccine rollout, we are able to move into Step Two ahead of schedule on June 30 with the support of our public health experts,” Premier Doug Ford said in a news release issued Thursday. The further loosening of public health restrictions means that outdoor dining capacity limits can increase to six people per table, essential retail can double to 50 per cent capacity and non-essential retail can move to 25 per cent capacity, up from 15. Also, shopping malls can reopen with restrictions and larger indoor religious services, like wedding and funeral services, can resume at 25 per cent capacity.

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