Slowly but surely, Ontario is emerging out of the COVID-19 pandemic, with all signs pointing to a strong, two-dose summer. Our case counts are declining, as is the test positivity rate. Canada is the No. 1 leader in first-dose vaccinations, and is vaccinating at the fastest rate among the G7.

This is all phenomenal news.

Thanks to the self-sacrifices and self-discipline of Ontarians across the province, we have finally entered Step 2 of the Roadmap to Reopen. I’m personally excited to see our kids play again in outdoor sports leagues and get some much-needed fresh air. Nothing beats sitting at a soccer game on a hot summer day watching your daughter score a goal before halftime.

The Roadmap to Reopen is also a “roadmap to recovery” for many of our mom-and-pop shops. Alongside flexible ease-of-business regulations, our government has invested heavily in a number of programs to support the economic backbones of our community.

This includes the PPE grant, property tax and energy cost rebates and the Digital Main Street grant. With the Ontario Small Business Support Grant, over 100,000 businesses have received their first payment and 75,000 have received their second, totalling $2.6B in support. Likewise, the new Ontario Tourism and Travel Support Grant will provide support for those hit hard by COVID-19 in our tourism sector.

Problems come quickly, but resolve slowly. This is even truer with global pandemics. A safe and measured reopening, marked by key public health metrics, is necessary to prevent a fourth wave. We should not squander our hard-fought sacrifices for short-term excitement.

Finally, let me reiterate the message of Peel’s medical officer of health — the reopening is ultimately in our own hands. Get the second dose as soon as you can, whether it’s the same vaccine brand as before or not. Avoid a busy social calendar until more people get the second dose.

Very soon, we will be in our new normals, laughing and chatting at amusement parks, outdoor theatres and fairs. Let’s be sure to keep our reopening on the right track.