Ontario just announced an end to all COVID capacity limits and here's the timeline
In a rare Monday morning announcement, Ontario Premier Doug Ford has revealed a new, expedited timeline for lifting (most) current COVID-related public health restrictions, beginning with the removal of capacity limits at bars, restaurants, cinemas, gyms and more this coming Thursday.
Then, on March 1, we'll see capacity limits eliminated for all indoor spaces, as well as the nixxing of Ontario's controversial vaccine passport system.
Citing an improvement in key public health system indicators and advice from Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore, the province announced today that it will continue "cautiously and gradually" easing new health measures that were put into place amid the Omicron wave in early January.
It'll just be doing so a little less cautiously and a lot less gradually than initially planned.
I have said from the very beginning that the extraordinary measures we introduced during the pandemic would only be used for as long as they were absolutely necessary.— Doug Ford (@fordnation) February 14, 2022
We are able to move forward and ease restrictions because of each and every one of you. Thank you! pic.twitter.com/GWehsIDk7H
The next phase of reopening, initially slated to begin on Feb. 21 (based on the province's own 21-day-per-stage rule), will now commence at 12:01 a.m. on February 17.
As this time, the province says it will be taking the following actions:
Capacity limits will either remain in place or increase to the number of people able to maintain social distance for a few weeks in all "other indoor public settings, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, retail and shopping malls."
Then, on March 1, if health system indicators continue to improve, all remaining indoor capacity limits will be lifted.
"Ontario will also lift proof of vaccination requirements for all settings at this time. Businesses and other settings may choose to continue to require proof of vaccination," reads a press release announcing the changes.
"Masking requirements will remain in place at this time, with a specific timeline to lift this measure to be communicated at a later date."
Premier Ford has announced further lifting of capacity limits as of Feb. 17th and proof of vaccination requirements as of March 1st. Businesses will continue to have the right to require proof of vaccination to enter their premises. https://t.co/PM9oyhhjuh— Cynthia Ingram (@CindyIngramLLB) February 14, 2022
"Given how well Ontario has done in the Omicron wave we are able to fast track our reopening plan," said Ford during his surprise presser Monday morning.
"This is great news and a sign of just how far we've come together in our fight against the virus. While we aren't out of the woods just yet we are moving in the right direction."
"Thanks to the efforts of Ontarians to help blunt the transmission of Omicron, our health care indicators suggest a general improvement in the COVID-19 situation in the province," said Dr. Moore similarly.
"We are now in a position to lift more public health measures, but it is important to stay vigilant, as we don't want to cause any further disruption to people’s everyday lives. We must continue to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in our communities by following the measures in place and by vaccinating those who have not yet received their doses."
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