Ontario Releases Dates for COVID-19 Reopening Plan

By: Laura Steiner
The Ford government has unveiled its plans to further loosen remaining COVID-19 restrictions.  The strategy was announced earlier today by Premier Doug Ford, and Health Minister Christine Elliott.
“This plan is built for the long term.  It will guide us safely through the winter and out of this pandemic, while avoiding lockdowns and ensuring we don’t lose the hard-fought gains we have made,” Ford said.  The plan lays out cautious steps by date beginning Monday October 25, 2021.
October 25, 2021:
Capacity limits increase at places requiring proof of vaccination status including:

  • restaurants
  • indoor areas of sports and recreational facilities, indoor
  • meeting and event spaces.
  • Some outdoor settings will also have their limits lifted.

The following will be eligible to increase capacity limits and physical distancing requirements if they choose to require proof of vaccination:

  • Personal care services (barbershops, salons, body art)

Indoor areas of:

  • museum, galleries, aquariums, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions.
  • amusement parks
  • Indoor areas of fairs, rural exhibitions, festivals;
  • Indoor tour and guide services
  • Boat tours, marinas and boating clubs
  • Indoor club houses at outdoor recreational amenities
  • Indoor photography studios and services
  • Open house activities offered by real estate agencies.

Locations hosting funerals, weddings, and religious rites/ ceremony can also implement proof of vaccine requirements. Santa Claus parades, and Remembrance Day ceremonies aren’t eligible.
November 15: Capacity limits will begin to increase at high-risk settings requiring proof-of-vaccination including food and drink establishments with dance facilities such as night clubs, wedding receptions, strip clubs, bathhouses and sex clubs.
January 17, 2022 The province will begin lifting capacity limits where proof of vaccination is required as long as there no concerns with Public Health healthcare data.  The timing of this step is meant to follow data gathered over the holidays, and a return to in-class learning.  The proof of vaccination limits may also begin to be lifted for restaurants, bars, sports & recreational facilities, and casinos, bingo halls, and other gaming establishments.
February 7, 2022:  The province may lift proof-of-vaccination requirements for high-risk settings including: nightclubs, strip clubs, bathhouses, and sex clubs.
March 28, 2022: The province anticipates lifting the remaining health and workplace safety measures including face coverings in indoor public settings.  The proof of vaccination requirement for all remaining settings will be including sporting events, concerts, theatres, cinemas, racing venues, and television studios and film productions with studio audiences.
“We are now in a position where we can see the proposed plan for lifting the remaining public health and workplace safety measures in Ontario, Chief Medical Officer of health Dr. Kieran Moore said. Public Health units will lead the local response, and are empowered to reintroduce measures including physical distancing, capacity limits.  The measures would only be used when the healthcare system’s capacity is at risk of becoming overwhelmed, or a vaccine-resistant COVID-19 variant is identified as having entered the province.
Ontario recorded an increase of 492 cases of COVID-19 as of today.  325 of those are found in those whose vaccination status is unknown, while 167 are in those who are fully vaccinated.