Capacity limits for Ontario restaurants, gyms to lift Monday: Source

Capacity limits for Ontario restaurants, gyms to lift Monday: Source

All COVID-19 measures, including mandatory masks & proof-of-vaccination, to end completely by March 28

Author of the article:

Antonella Artuso

Publishing date:

Oct 22, 2021  •  3 days ago  •  2 minute read  •  132 Comments

Kitchen manager Fernanda Tavares writes a notice of Ontario's new vaccination requirement on a sandwich board at Firkin on the Bay pub in the Humber Bay Shores neighbourhood in Toronto on Tuesday September 21, 2021.
Kitchen manager Fernanda Tavares writes a notice of Ontario’s new vaccination requirement on a sandwich board at Firkin on the Bay pub in the Humber Bay Shores neighbourhood in Toronto on Tuesday September 21, 2021. Photo by Ernest Doroszuk /Toronto Sun

The Doug Ford government has announced plans to phase out pandemic public health measures by March starting this Monday, with an end to capacity limits in settings where proof of vaccination is required, like restaurants and gyms.

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The plan, unveiled Friday, calls for an end to mandatory proof-of-vaccination as of Jan. 17 for restaurants, bars, bingo halls, casinos and gyms and the lifting of mandatory indoor masking mandates on March 28.

The provincial COVID-19 daily caseload is low and stable, Ford said — and so a new approach is warranted in acknowledgement of people’s sacrifices to get here.

“We’re one of the most cautious provinces … in fact, one of the most cautious in North America,” Ford said.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore said he believes unmasking by next spring is achievable because the province will have an even higher rate of vaccination, be well into its third dose program and will have inoculated the five-to-11-year-old age group.

“And then we will have to learn to live with this virus,” Moore said.

Ford has said that the enhanced vaccine certificate currently needed to enter gyms, restaurants and other higher-risk settings was going to be a temporary measure.

Despite announcing that enhanced certificates would no longer be necessary as early as Jan. 17, Ford said he still encourages everyone to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

“But we can’t forever, until the end of time, just ignore the people that aren’t vaccinated — they’re part of Ontario, ” Ford said.

“I’ll be up here every day preaching to be vaccinated but there has to be a time that everyone eventually comes together.”

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Here is a brief timeline of the reopening plans:

Monday October 25 at 12:01 a.m.

Where proof of vaccination is mandatory: Capacity limits to be lifted on restaurants, bars, gyms and similar facilities, casinos, bingo halls, indoor meeting and event spaces.

If they adopt mandatory proof of vaccination for patrons:  Capacity and physical distancing limits will be lifted on barber shops, salons, tattoo parlours, museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, science centres, indoor amusement parks, boat tours, indoor fairs and exhibits, indoor clubhouses, open house events by real estate agents and locations for weddings (without dancing), funerals and other religious rites.

Capacity limits will remain in place for places where people receive medical care, as well as grocery stores.

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Coming soon: Higher capacity limits for public events such as Remembrance Day ceremonies and Santa Claus parades.

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November 15:

Where proof of vaccination is mandatory: Capacity limits to be lifted in night clubs and wedding hall spaces with dancing, strip clubs, bathhouses and sex clubs.

January 17

Begin gradual end to capacity limits in places where proof of vaccination is not required, and proof of vaccination may end for restaurants, bars, gyms, bingo halls and casinos.

February 7

Proof of vaccination requirement ends for night clubs, strip clubs, bathhouses and sex clubs.

March 28

All public health measures end, including mandatory face coverings in public and remaining mandatory proof of vaccination orders.

aartuso@postmedia.com

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