Ontario announced today sweeping new restrictions across the province as the Omicron variant continues to spread. With statistics reporting delayed over the holiday, the number of new cases on December 31st was 23,517 across the province. The new restrictions are currently set for 21 days.
The new restrictions will shutter indoor dining, all performance venues including theatres, movie theatres, concerts, gyms, and puts capacity limits on retail. As of January 5th, hospitals will be instructed to pause all non-emergent and non-urgent surgeries and procedures.
"As we continue with our provincial vaccine booster efforts, we must look at every option to slow the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant," said Premier Doug Ford. "Putting these targeted and time-limited measures in place will give us more opportunity to deliver vaccines to all Ontarians and ensure everyone has maximum protection against this virus."
These new restrictions include:
-Reducing social gathering limits to five people indoors and 10 people outdoors.
-Limiting capacity at organized public events to five people indoors.
-Requiring businesses and organizations to ensure employees work remotely unless the nature of their work requires them to be on-site.
-Limiting capacity at indoor weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites and ceremonies to 50 per cent capacity of the particular room. Outdoor services are limited to the number of people that can maintain 2 metres of physical distance. Social gatherings associated with these services must adhere to the social gathering limits.
-Retail settings, including shopping malls, permitted at 50 per cent capacity. For shopping malls physical distancing will be required in line-ups, loitering will not be permitted and food courts will be required to close.
-Personal care services permitted at 50 per cent capacity and other restrictions. Saunas, steam rooms, and oxygen bars closed.
-Closing indoor meeting and event spaces with limited exceptions but permitting outdoor spaces to remain open with restrictions.
-Public libraries limited to 50 per cent capacity.
-Closing indoor dining at restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments. Outdoor dining with restrictions, takeout, drive through and delivery is permitted.
-Restricting the sale of alcohol after 10 p.m. and the consumption of alcohol on-premise in businesses or settings after 11 p.m. with delivery and takeout, grocery/convenience stores and other liquor stores exempted.
-Closing indoor concert venues, theatres, cinemas, rehearsals and recorded performances permitted with restrictions.
-Closing museums, galleries, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions, amusement parks and waterparks, tour and guide services and fairs, rural exhibitions, and festivals. Outdoor establishments permitted to open with restrictions and with spectator occupancy, where applicable, limited to 50 per cent capacity.
-Closing indoor horse racing tracks, car racing tracks and other similar venues. Outdoor establishments permitted to open with restrictions and with spectator occupancy limited to 50 per cent capacity. Boat tours permitted at 50 per cent capacity.
-Closing indoor sport and recreational fitness facilities including gyms, except for athletes training for the Olympics and Paralympics and select professional and elite amateur sport leagues. Outdoor facilities are permitted to operate but with the number of spectators not to exceed 50 per cent occupancy and other requirements.
-All publicly funded and private schools will move to remote learning starting January 5 until at least January 17, subject to public health trends and operational considerations.
-School buildings would be permitted to open for child care operations, including emergency child care, to provide in-person instruction for students with special education needs who cannot be accommodated remotely and for staff who are unable to deliver quality instruction from home.
-During this period of remote learning, free emergency child care will be provided for school-aged children of health care and other eligible frontline workers.