doug ford announcement

Ontario reduces capacity limits and announces a ton of new restrictions for indoor settings

Hold onto your hats (and masks), because Doug Ford just announced a long list of new restrictions for indoor settings to slow the rapid spread of Omicron, and it's looking like the 2021 holiday season could end up a whole lot less festive than expected.

Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore said on Friday that "the province is applying a 50 per cent capacity limits in indoor public settings such as restaurants, bars, gyms, pharmacies, grocery stores, shopping malls, and personal care services," the province's top doc also warning that "Omicron will not take a holiday."

Effective 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 19, the following indoor settings will have their capacity cut down to 50 per cent.

• Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments and strip clubs;
• Personal care services;
• Personal physical fitness trainers;
• Retailers (including grocery stores and pharmacies);
• Shopping malls;
• Non-spectator areas of facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities (e.g. gyms);
• Indoor recreational amenities;
• Indoor clubhouses at outdoor recreational amenities;
• Tour and guide services; 
• Photography studios and services; and
• Marinas and boating clubs.

There are more restrictions that will go into place this weekend, and the province is hinting that additional, harsher measures could be coming soon.

With the holidays just days away, social gatherings have been capped to a 10 person maximum starting Sunday, so that festive turkey dinner might end up being downgraded to a Swiss Chalet Festive Special because it's basically 2020 all over again.

If your holiday dinner plans included a night out, be warned that restaurants will be forced to stop selling alcohol at 10 p.m. and close their doors at 11 p.m. daily, effectively ending nightlife in the city.

You also won't be able to eat or drink at most events and shows, so moviegoers will have to go without popcorn.

Ford said during Friday's press conference, "daily COVID cases will continue to accelerate," and the province's "decision to limit peoples' ability to gather, especially during holidays, is an extremely, extremely difficult one to make."

Premier Ford and Dr. Moore were careful to avoid the word 'lockdown' in the announcement of sweeping measures on Friday afternoon, but it's pretty clear we're headed back to the darkest days of the pandemic as case counts skyrocket.

Lead photo by

Province of Ontario

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