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Province restricting capacity limits to 50 per cent, imposing gathering limits

In response to the rapidly-spreading and highly transmissible Omicron variant, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, is applying additional public health and workplace safety measures, including capacity and social gathering limits.

“Throughout this entire pandemic, we’ve never faced an enemy like Omicron given how quickly it spreads,” said Premier Doug Ford. “We need to do everything we can to slow its spread as we continue to dramatically ramp up capacity to get as many booster shots into arms as possible. Doing so is the best way to safeguard our hospital and intensive care units.”

Ontario is introducing a 50 per cent capacity limit in the following indoor public settings:
– 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; and
– Photography studios and services; and
– Marinas and boating clubs.

These limits do not apply to any portion of a business or place that is being used for a wedding, a funeral or a religious service, rite, or ceremony.

Businesses or facilities will also need to post a sign stating the capacity limits that are permitted in the establishment.

The number of patrons permitted to sit at a table will be limited to 10 people and patrons will be required to remain seated in restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments, meeting and event spaces and strip clubs.
Bars and restaurants, meeting and event spaces and strip clubs will be required to close by 11 p.m. Take out and delivery will be permitted beyond 11 p.m.
Dancing will not be allowed except for workers or performers.
Food and/or drink services will be prohibited at sporting events; concert venues, theatres and cinemas; casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments; and horse racing tracks, car racing tracks and other similar venues.
The sale of alcohol will be restricted after 10 p.m. and consumption of alcohol in businesses or settings after 11 p.m.

In addition, to mitigate COVID-19 transmission that can occur at informal social gatherings, the province is also reducing social gathering limits to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.

These restrictions will come into effect on 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021.

Starting Monday, Dec. 20 individuals aged 18 and over will be eligible to schedule their booster dose appointment. Appointments will be booked three months (84 days) after a second dose as the province urgently expands booster eligibility to millions more individuals.

To provide an additional layer of protection against COVID-19 and variants including Omicron, the province has launched a holiday testing blitz to offer rapid antigen tests to individuals free of charge at pop-up sites across the province, as well as at select LCBO stores across Ontario. Visit Ontario.ca/holidaytesting to find out when and where you can access free COVID-19 rapid antigen tests during the holiday season.

Effective January 4, 2022, the use of the enhanced COVID-19 vaccine certificate with QR code and the Verify Ontario app will be required where proof of vaccination is required. Download by visiting https://covid-19.ontario.ca/get-proof/, or call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900 to have your vaccine certificate mailed.

Filed Under: Local News

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