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Restaurants, gyms can reopen Jan. 31

Each of the three phases will last 21 days
2022-01-03 doug ford 3
Premier Doug Ford at a press conference on Monday, January 3. (Photo/Screenshot)

Restaurants and gyms can reopen Jan. 31 as part of Ontario's plan to gradually reopen the province.

Ontario has been at a modified Step 2 of the Roadmap to Reopen since Jan. 5. Under the measures, restaurants are closed to indoor dining and gyms are closed. Schools returned to in-person learning on Jan. 17.

Today, Premier Doug Ford announced the phased approach to reopening, with each step lasting at least 21 days.

Phase one starts on Jan. 31. 

It will mean: 

  • Social gathering increase to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors
  • Capacity limits will be increased or maintained at 50 per cent for restaurants and bars without dance facilities, retailers, shopping malls, gyms, cinemas, meeting and event spaces, recreational amenities, museums and attractions, casinos and bingo halls, religious services, rites and ceremonies.
  • Arenas, theatres and concert venues are capped at 500 people or 50 per cent capacity, whichever is less.

Proof of vaccination will still be required at certain settings.

Feb. 21,  the public health measures would be:

  • Social gatherings increase to 25 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.
  • No capacity limits in indoor public setting where proof of vaccination is required. This affects restaurants, indoor sports and recreation facilities, cinemas and other settings opting to use proof of vaccination requirements.
  • Arenas, theatres and concert venues allowed to open at 50 per cent capacity.
  • Limiting capacity in most remaining indoor public settings where proof of vaccination is not required. The cap would require the number be at whatever allows people to maintain two-metres of physical distancing. 
  • 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.
  • At higher-risk settings where proof of vaccination is required — such as nightclubs, wedding receptions in meeting or event spaces where there is dancing, bathhouses and sex clubs — the indoor capacity limits will increase to 25 per cent.

Enhanced proof of vaccination would still be required.

March 14 further easing of restrictions would mean:

  • Lifting capacity limits in all indoor public settings. Proof of vaccination to stay in existing settings.
  • Lifting remaining capacity limits on religious services, rites or ceremonies.
  • Increase social gathering limits to 50 people indoors, with no limits for outdoor gatherings.

Depending on the situation in certain areas, local health units may add to the provincial measures based on the local context.

Today, Ontario reported 594 COVID-positive patients in ICU. According to the latest provincial update about 481 of them were admitted because of COVID. The rest were admitted for other reasons but also test positive for COVID.

Of the 4,061 COVID-positive patients in hospital, about 2,189 people are there because of COVID related illness and the remaining 1,943 patients were admitted for a different reason but still test positive for COVID-19. 

Of the 42,097 tests processed yesterday, there was a 15.9 per cent positivity rate.

“The evidence tells us that the measures we put in place to blunt transmission of Omicron are working,” said Premier Doug Ford in a news release. “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. While February will continue to present its own challenges, given current trends these are challenges we are confident we can manage.”


Maija Hoggett

About the Author: Maija Hoggett

Maija Hoggett is an experienced journalist who covers Timmins and area
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