It’s official, folks! Ford’s government has finally announced what the last leg of Ontario’s reopening plan looks like and what the next several months have in store. Starting on Monday, October 25th, the province will lift capacity limits at the vast majority of businesses where proof of vaccination is required.
Indoor venues of all kinds will be allowed to accommodate the maximum number of customers and will no longer have to adhere to social distancing requirements.
That includes gyms, arenas, restaurants, casinos, meeting and event spaces, and more. Weddings and funeral services can implement proof of vaccination policies to allow for more guests.
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The province is scrapping capacity limits in many other settings too, including:
- Personal care services (e.g., barber shops, salons, body art);
- Indoor areas of museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions;
- Indoor areas of amusement parks;
- Indoor areas of fairs, rural exhibitions, festivals;
- Indoor tour and guide services;
- Boat tours;
- Indoor areas of marinas and boating clubs;
- Indoor clubhouses at outdoor recreational amenities;
- Open house events provided by real estate agencies; and
- Indoor areas of photography studios and services.
Officials also revealed the measures that will be taken in the coming months to get Ontario “through the winter and out of the pandemic,” in Ford’s words.
On November 15th, the province will lift capacity limits at the remaining higher-risk settings where proof of vaccination is required, like nightclubs, strip clubs, wedding receptions.
Come January 17th, “in the absence of concerning trends in public health and health care following the winter holiday months and after students returned to in-class learning,” the province may begin to lift proof of vaccination requirements at restaurants, bars, sports facilities, and more. If all goes well, proof of vaccination will be removed in the remaining higher-risk settings by February 7th.
Finally, Ontario officials hope to get rid of all the remaining public health restrictions, including mask mandates, by March 22nd. At this time, proof of vaccination may be fully lifted. However, to manage COVID-19 long-term, local public health measures like capacity and distancing might be applied in areas with increased transmission, but not province-wide.
According to the premier, the goal is to cautiously lift measures over time while doing “everything possible to avoid broad lockdowns and enable tailored localized responses in case officials need to act.”