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COVID-19 public health restrictions to be eased in phases beginning Jan. 31

COVID-19 public health restrictions put in place Jan. 5 are to be eased, in phases, beginning at month end as the province is beginning to see signs of stabilization in key public health system indicators.

“I want to be crystal clear, we are not out of the woods yet,” said Premier Doug Ford in a news conference this morning. ” “There will be some who wish we could move faster; there may be some saying we are moving too fast… February will continue to present its own challenges, given current trends these are challenges we are confident we can manage.”

Ford stated admissions to hospitals and intensive care units are beginning to slow in the province, and lengths of stays are stabilizing.

In the absence of changes to public health trends, Ontario will begin its phased approach to lifting measures, with 21 days between each step.

Effective Jan. 31 Ontario will be:
Increasing social gathering limits to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
Increasing or maintaining capacity limits at 50 per cent in indoor public settings, including but not limited to:
Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments without dance facilities;
Retailers (including grocery stores and pharmacies)
Shopping malls;
Non-spectator areas of sports and recreational fitness facilities, including gyms;
Meeting and event spaces;
Recreational amenities and amusement parks, including water parks;
Museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos and similar attractions; and
Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments
Religious services, rites, or ceremonies.

Allowing spectator areas of facilities such as sporting events, concert venues and theatres to operate at 50 per cent seated capacity or 500 people, whichever is less.

Enhanced proof of vaccination, and other requirements continue to apply in existing settings.

Effective Feb. 21:
Increasing social gathering limits to 25 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.
Removing capacity limits in indoor public settings where proof of vaccination is required, including but not limited to restaurants, indoor sports and recreational facilities, cinemas, as well as other settings that choose to opt-in to proof of vaccination requirements.
Permitting spectator capacity at sporting events, concert venues, and theatres at 50 per cent capacity.
Limiting capacity in most remaining indoor public settings where proof of vaccination is not required to the number of people that can maintain two metres of physical distance.
Indoor religious services, rites or ceremonies limited to the number that can maintain two metres of physical distance, with no limit if proof of vaccination is required.
Increasing indoor capacity limits to 25 per cent in the remaining higher-risk settings where proof of vaccination is required, including nightclubs, wedding receptions in meeting or event spaces where there is dancing, as well as bathhouses and sex clubs.

Enhanced proof of vaccination, and other requirements continue to apply in existing settings.

Effective March 14:
Lifting capacity limits in all indoor public settings. Proof of vaccination will be maintained in existing settings in addition to other regular measures.
Lifting remaining capacity limits on religious services, rites, or ceremonies.
Increase social gathering limits to 50 people indoors with no limits for outdoor gatherings.

To manage COVID-19 over the long-term, local and regional responses by public health units may be deployed based on local context and conditions.

Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health, said the months ahead, especially February, “will require continued vigilance, 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.”

Starting today, walk-ins age 12+ are welcome at vaccine clinics at the Prince Edward Community Centre (375 Picton Main Street).

Clinics for first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, or a third dose, if they qualify are being held:
Thursday, Jan. 20 – 10 am-4 pm
Monday, Jan. 24 – 1-7 pm
Thursday, Jan. 27 – 10 am-4pm
Monday, Jan. 31 – 1-7pm

Walk-ins should arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the end of the scheduled clinic and should bring their Ontario health card.

Filed Under: Local News

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