Ontario Government Introduces New Measures Against Omicron Variant
In response to the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases, the government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, is ramping up and encouraging vaccination and introducing the following restrictions beginning at 12:01am Sunday December 19th, 2021:
Gathering limits of 10 indoors and 25 outdoors across the province
- 50% capacity limits for 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; photography studios and services; and marinas and boating clubs.
- Businesses must post their capacity limits on the front door.
- Only permitting 10 people to sit together at a table in restaurants, bars, and meeting and event venues.
- All restaurants, bars, and other food and drink establishments must close by 11pm, and stop serving alcohol after 10pm. Take-out and delivery will still be permitted after 11pm.
These restrictions are in addition to the restrictions announced earlier this week:
- Delaying the lifting of proof of vaccination requirements beyond January 17, 2022, aligned with the reopening plan that stipulated that doing so was contingent on the absence of concerning trends.
- Effective January 4, 2022, requiring the use of the enhanced vaccine certificate with QR code and the Verify Ontario app in settings where proof of vaccination is required. The QR code can be used digitally or by printing a paper copy. Individuals can download their enhanced certificate with QR code by visiting https://covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine/.
- Strengthening the verification process for medical exemptions and clinical trial exemptions by requiring a certificate with a QR code. Organizations and businesses that are under the provincial proof-of-vaccination system will be advised to no longer accept physician notes as of January 10, 2022.
- Effective December 20, 2021, requiring proof of vaccination for youth aged 12 to 17 years participating in organized sports at recreational facilities.
- On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Ontarians are strongly advised to limit their social gatherings and the number of gatherings they attend over the holiday season.
- Employers in all industries should make every effort to allow employees to work from home.
- Starting on Monday, December 13, 2021, individuals aged 50 and over will be eligible to schedule their booster dose appointment. Expanded booster dose eligibility to all Ontarians 18 years of age and older will occur on December 20th, 2021, with appointments to be booked approximately three months after receiving a second dose.
- Starting on December 18th, 2021, Ontario will re-introduce a 50% capacity limit to indoor areas of venues with usual capacity of 1,000or more.
The full suite of measures is outlined in the backgrounder.