capacity limits ontario

Ontario will reportedly lift capacity limits for bars and restaurants next week

All Ontario businesses that still have capacity limits in place — chiefly bars, restaurants and gyms — will be able to resume full operations as early as this coming Monday, according to multiple reports citing unnamed government officials.

Premier Doug Ford, who is scheduled to make an announcement from Queen's Park at 2 p.m. this afternoon, is expected to release plans for exiting his "Roadmap to Reopen" within hours.

This means that Ontario will soon leave Step 3 after more than four months of waiting (occasionally getting our hopes up only to be dashed by complications including a Delta-driven fourth wave of COVID-19) and suffering immense industry losses.

Not a great deal will change when we exit the framework at this point — certain public health measures such as indoor masking will stay in effect, and capacity limits have already been raised for several types of indoor venues.

Limits on the number of people at concert venues, cinemas, sports stadiums and other large-scale event venues where proof of vaccination is now required were eliminated completely on Oct. 9, leaving only a few types of establishments with capacity restrictions.

Under Step 3, gyms and recreational fitness facilities have indoor capacity limits of up to 50 per cent of normal levels, as long as every person present can maintain at least two metres from one another.

Restaurants don't have specific limits but must keep a physical distance of at least two metres between all groups unless barriers are present.

Indoor food or drink establishments with dance facilities, such as nightclubs and restobars, can only operate at 25 per cent capacity or 250 people, whichever is less.

Proof of vaccination documents (aka vaccine passports) are required for entry at all of the above venues, however, regardless of the restrictions in place, leading hard-hit fitness and hospitality business owners to call upon the government to please, at long last, let them operate at full capacity.

Should we exit Step 3 next week as sources report, restaurants, bars and gyms will be able to open fully for the first time in 19 months, since March of 2020.

Lead photo by

Jesse Milns

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