The Ontario government has announced that some COVID-19 restrictions will be gradually lifted beginning at the end of the month.
Premier Doug Ford spoke publicly on Thursday afternoon about the current restrictions, which were put in place province-wide on January 5th in response to the rapid rise of the incredibly infectious Omicron variant of COVID-19.
Though published daily case counts have been wildly inaccurate and underreported for weeks after PCR testing was limited by the provincial government, Ford indicates that the measures put in place have played enough of a role in slowing transmission that the province can now take a gradual, cautious approach to reopening beginning on January 31st at 12:01 am.
— CP24 (@CP24) January 20, 2022
This means that social gathering limits will be increased to a maximum of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. Restaurants, bars, and other food & drink establishments will also be permitted to reopen for in-person dining at 50 per cent capacity.
The same 50 per cent capacity limits also apply to cinemas, live performance venues, meeting and event spaces, museums and galleries, casinos, and fitness facilities such as gyms.
Proof of vaccination will still be required in applicable settings, as well as mandatory mask-wearing.
Then, further restrictions will be eased effective February 21st, with social gathering limits increased to 25 people indoor and 100 people outdoors, with capacity limits in indoor public spaces – including restaurants, theatres, and sports venues – lifted entirely with proof of vaccination in place.
At that time, other venues that are not required to enforce proof of vaccination will still have a capped capacity limit, but will be permitted to opt into a proof of vaccination policy to open at full capacity.
From there, Ontario has marked March 14th as a date to even further relax restrictions while maintaining proof of vaccination and mandatory mask-wearing in applicable settings.
Read the full release here.