ONTARIO – The province of Ontario has announced that it will lift some COVID-19 restrictions on Thursday, Feb. 17, with more being lifted by March 1.
“Thanks to the province’s high vaccination rates and the continued sacrifices of Ontarians, we are now in a position where we can move forward in our plan earlier than anticipated,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “With hospitalizations and ICU admissions continuing to decline, we are committed to maintaining a gradual and cautious approach to protect our hospital capacity and ensure patients can access the care they need when they need it.”
The following restrictions will be lifted on Feb. 17:
- Increasing social gathering limits to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors
- Increasing organized public event limits to 50 people indoors, with no limit outdoors
- Removing capacity limits in the following indoor public settings where proof of vaccination is required, including but not limited to:
- Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments without dance facilities
- Non-spectator areas of sports and recreational fitness facilities, including gyms
- Meeting and event spaces, including conference centres or convention centres
- Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments
- Indoor areas of settings that choose to opt-in to proof of vaccination requirements.
- Allowing 50 per cent of the usual seating capacity at sports arenas
- Allowing 50 percent of the usual seating capacity for concert venues and theatres
- Increasing indoor capacity limits to 25 per cent in the remaining higher-risk settings where proof of vaccination is required, including nightclubs, restaurants where there is dancing, as well as bathhouses and sex clubs
- Increasing capacity limits for indoor weddings, funerals or religious services, rites, or ceremonies to the number of people who can maintain two metres physical distance. Capacity limits are removed if the location opts-in to use proof of vaccination or if the service, rite, or ceremony is occurring outdoors.
On Friday, Feb. 18, the province will extend vaccine booster dose eligibility to those aged 12 to 17.
On March 1, the province will lift all capacity limits, as well as lifting the requirement to show proof of vaccination where applicable. Mask wearing requirements in certain indoor settings will remain in place.
“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 Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health. “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.”