Covid-19 vaccine passport

Ontario to ease COVID-19 restrictions by the end of the month

Effective Jan. 31, at 12:01 a.m., Ontario will begin the process of easing COVID-19 restrictions, while maintaining protective measures (i.e., (enhanced proof of vaccination, and other requirements, which would continue to apply in existing settings).

The announcement was made on Thursday afternoon by Premier Doug Ford and his cabinet. Ford stated that the evidence tells us that the additional public health measures the government enacted on Jan. 5 to blunt transmission of Omicron are working,

“We can be confident that the worst is behind us and that we are now in a position to cautiously and gradually ease public health measures,” Ford noted. “While February will continue to present its own challenges, given current trends these are challenges we are confident we can manage.”

The revised restrictions include the following:

Effective Jan. 31:

  • Social gathering limits will increase to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
  • Increasing or maintaining capacity limits at 50 per cent in indoor public settings, including restaurants, bars, 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);
  • Cinemas;
  • Meeting and event spaces;
  • Recreational amenities and amusement parks (including water parks);
  • Museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, and similar attractions;
  • Casinos, bingo halls, and other gaming establishments
  • Religious services, rites, or ceremonies.
  • Allowing spectator areas of facilities (e.g., sporting events, concert venues, and theatres) to operate at 50% seated capacity or 500 people, whichever is less.

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 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% 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% 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 would 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.

On Thursday, the province reported 7,757 new COVID-19 cases, an 35% increase from the 5,744 cases recorded in the previous report, and 75 new deaths (a 27% increase from the 59 deaths reported yesterday).

Health Minister Christine Elliott reported that 4,061 people were hospitalized with COVID-19—55% were admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 and 45% were admitted for other reasons but ended up testing positive for COVID-19.

In Ontario, 29,769,719 vaccine doses have been administered, with over 104,000 doses administered on Wednesday; 91.5% of Ontarians 12+ have one dose and 88.8% have two doses.

Click here for more info on COVID-19 wastewater surveillance, here for more COVID-19 Ontario news, and here for where you could get rapid COVID-19 tests in Toronto (including a drive-thru option).