Ontario to cap indoor gatherings at 10 people, capacity limits for indoor settings being reduced to 50 per cent


Published December 17, 2021 at 3:38 pm

Even more new COVID-19 safety measures are coming just ahead of the holiday season.

Premier Ford made the announcement on Friday and the new COVID-19 measures will start on Sunday (Dec. 19).

Capacity limits for all indoor public settings are being reduced to 50 per cent, except for religious settings.

Bars and restaurants will have hours of operation reduced to 11:00 p.m., except for take-out and delivery. Alcohol service will be restricted after 10:00 p.m.

Social gathering will be capped at 10 people indoors, and 25 people outdoors.

No food or drinks will be served at sporting events, concert venues, theaters or cinemas, bingo halls and other gaming establishments. This includes horse racing tracks, car racing tracks and similar venues.

The premier’s announcement came one day after experts said the number of new COVID-19 cases in Ontario could hit 10,000 a day by January.

The province already announced a 50 per cent capacity limit at all venues with a regular capacity over 1,000 starting on Saturday (Dec. 18).

“Sitting back and playing defence is not an option,” Ford said, adding that daily COVID-19 cases will continue to accelerate.

Ford urged again that vaccination is the best tool to combat the spread of the Omicron variant, and said the decision to implement more safety measures ahead of the holidays was not taken lightly.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore said there is an urgent need to curb transmissions to ensure hospital capacity is preserved.

He asked Ontarians to stay home if you show any symptoms of the virus, even if they are mild, and said the goal of the new restrictions is to try and slow the virus down.

Data from the province showed Friday’s new COVID-19 case count came in at 3,124, which is 703 cases higher than Thursday’s new number of 2,421.

In a briefing on Thursday, the province’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table said about 53 per cent of all new COVID-19 cases in the province are caused by the rapidly spreading Omicron variant, which has a doubling time of 2.2 days.

Third dose COVID-19 vaccine eligibility will expand to all Ontarians over the age of 18 starting on Monday if they have already received a second shot at least three months or 84 days prior.

Starting next Tuesday, all travellers will require a COVID-19 molecular test before returning to Canada through Pearson Airport in Mississauga and all other airports.

Earlier this week, the province made rapid COVID-19 testing kits available to the public through select LCBO locations across Ontario as part of an enhanced testing strategy.

The new 50 per cent capacity limits apply to the following indoor public settings:

  • Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments and strip clubs.
  • Personal care services.
  • Personal physical fitness trainers.
  • Retailers (including grocery stores and pharmacies).
  • Shopping malls.
  • Non-spectator areas of facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities like gyms.
  • Indoor recreational amenities.
  • Indoor clubhouses at outdoor recreational amenities.
  • Tour and guide services.
  • Photography studios and services.
  • Marinas and boating clubs.

These limits do not apply to any portion of a business or place that is being used for a wedding, a funeral or a religious service, rite, or ceremony.

Businesses or facilities will also need to post a sign stating the capacity limits that are permitted in the establishment.

Additional protective measures are also being applied, including:

  • The number of patrons permitted to sit at a table will be limited to 10 people and patrons will be required to remain seated in restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments, meeting and event spaces and strip clubs.
  • Bars and restaurants, meeting and event spaces and strip clubs will be required to close by 11 p.m. Take out and delivery will be permitted beyond 11 p.m.
  • Dancing will not be allowed except for workers or performers.
  • The sale of alcohol will be restricted after 10 p.m. and consumption of alcohol in businesses or settings after 11 p.m.
insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising