covid restrictions ontario

Here's a full list of Ontario's current COVID restrictions as vaccine passports are lifted

Ontario is lifting some of its heaviest remaining COVID restrictions today as planned, signalling the start of a new chapter (or so we hope) in this burgeoning post-pandemic society.

As of 12:01 a.m. this morning, March 1, 2022, capacity limits are no longer in place for any indoor public settings across the province.

While the number of people allowed to gather inside or outdoors has been expanded and retracted for various settings numerous times over the past two years, today marks the first time since Ontario declared its initial state of emergency on March 17, 2020 that all businesses can run at full capacity.

Proof of vaccination requirements, first implemented in September of 2021 for bars, restaurants, gyms, cinemas, casinos, concert venues and other indoor establishments deemed to be "high risk" for the spread of COVID-19, have also been nixxed, effective today.

Both of these things are big (albeit somewhat controversial) steps and, with the Omicron variant no longer posing a serious threat to hospital operations, it's almost starting to seem like things are going "back to normal."

But alas, there are some rules that you'll still need to follow as we transition through this period of reopening, chiefly related to face coverings.

According to the province's official COVID-19 public health measures and advice website, only two sweeping measures remain in effect for everyone in Ontario:

  • Protective measures, such as mask/face covering requirements and passive screening of patrons remain in place
  • Businesses and organizations that are open must continue to have safety plans in place

It's important to note that, while proof of vaccination requirements have been lifted, business owners still have the right to enforce vaccine passports on their own accord. Read: Establishments are no longer required by law to check your ID and vaccine status, but you also can't file a legitimate human rights complaint if they deny you entry for not being double-vaxxed.

Per the government, "businesses and organizations may choose to require proof of vaccination upon entry," and some most-certainly will.

Today's lifting of vaccine passports and capacity limits marks the final stage in the government's latest three-phased reopening plan, announced in January after yet another period of harsh lockdown restrictions brought on by Omicron, and then modified to be sped up in February as case counts stabilized.

"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 Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore, on Feb. 14 when announcing the expedited plan.

"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."

Ontario Premier Doug Ford indicated on Monday that masking requirements may soon be lifted as well — potentially within a few weeks — but for now, you must still cover your face before going indoors.

"There isn't a person I talk to who likes these masks, no one likes them, but I have to follow the advice," said the Premier at a press conference yesterday, noting that he only needs a sign off from Dr. Moore to lift mask mandates.

"We'll wait for his advice and recommendations, and once he gives us recommendations we'll be able to move forward."

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