capacity limits ontario

Ontario capacity limits lifted but some health measures to stay in place until 2022

On Monday, gyms, restaurants and bars will return to normal capacity limits — the kind we haven't seen since March of 2020.

As reported earlier, Ontario has now officially announced that the province will lift capacity limits, effective Oct. 25 at 12:01 a.m., in the vast majority of settings where proof of vaccination are required, such as restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments.

Indoor areas of sports and recreational facilities, such as gyms and spaces where personal physical fitness trainers provide instruction, casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments, and indoor meeting and event spaces are also included. Limits will also be lifted in certain outdoor settings.

The move comes because Ontario has taken a cautious and careful approach to reopening, said Premier Doug Ford.

"We're in a position to confidently make these plans because our health indicators show that we're on the right path," said Ford during a press conference announcing the news on Friday. "We're here because we stayed cautious."

The province plans to remain cautious with some health measures remaining in place until 2022.

The provincial requirement for proof of vaccination and the wearing of face coverings in indoor public settings will slowly be lifted over the next six months, said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

"Our plan will ensure we replicate this success and take a gradual approach that will protect our health system capacity, prevent widespread closures, keep our schools open and support the province’s economic recovery," Elliott said.

In addition to gyms, restaurants and bars, as of Monday, Oct. 25, the government will also allow other settings to lift capacity limits and physical distancing requirements if they choose to require proof of vaccination, including:

  • Personal care services (e.g., barber shops, salons, body art);
  • Indoor areas of museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions;
  • Indoor areas of amusement parks;
  • Indoor areas of fairs, rural exhibitions, festivals;
  • Indoor tour and guide services;
  • Boat tours;
  • Indoor areas of marinas and boating clubs;
  • Indoor clubhouses at outdoor recreational amenities;
  • Open house events provided by real estate agencies; and
  • Indoor areas of photography studios and services.

Locations where a wedding, funeral or religious service, rite or ceremony takes place may also implement proof of vaccination requirements for services, rites, or ceremonies at the location.

Capacity limits will remain in settings where people receive medical care, food from grocery stores and medical supplies.

In addition, the government intends to allow for greater capacity at organized public events such as Remembrance Day ceremonies and Santa Claus parades with more details coming in the near future.

Gradual reopening

On Nov. 15, the government intends to lift capacity limits in the remaining higher-risk settings where proof of vaccination is required, including food or drink establishments with dance facilities (e.g., night clubs, wedding receptions in meeting/event spaces where there is dancing); strip clubs, bathhouses and sex clubs.

On Jan. 17, 2022, in the absence of concerning trends in public health and health care following the winter holiday months and after students return to in-class learning, the province intends to begin gradually lifting capacity limits in settings where proof of vaccination is not required.

Proof of vaccination requirements may also begin to be gradually lifted at this time for restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments, facilities used for sports and recreational facilities and casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments.

On Feb. 7, the government intends to lift proof of vaccination requirements in high-risk settings, including night clubs, strip clubs, and bathhouses and sex clubs.

On March 28, 2022, all remaining public health and workplace safety measures will be lifted, including wearing face coverings in indoor public settings.

In addition, the provincial requirement for proof of vaccination will be lifted for all remaining settings, including meeting and event spaces, sporting events, concerts, theatres and cinemas, racing venues and commercial and film productions with studio audiences.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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