Ontario is moving schools online for at least two weeks and temporarily closing indoor dining and gyms as it faces record-high case counts and rising hospitalizations linked to the Omicron variant.
Premier Doug Ford announced the changes at a morning news conference today. He was joined at the announcement by his ministers of health, education and finance, as well Ontario’s chief medical officer of health and the CEO of Ontario Health.
The new restrictions are part of a modified version of Step Two of the province’s Roadmap to Reopen from earlier this year.
The province announced all publicly funded and private schools will move to remote learning starting January 5 until at least January 17.
The newly announced measures include:
- Indoor dining at restaurants and bars closed.
- Only outdoor dining, takeout, drive through and delivery permitted.
- Social gathering limits reduced to five people indoors and 10 people outdoors.
- Retail stores, malls and personal care services limited to 50 per cent capacity.
- Saunas, steam rooms, and oxygen bars closed.
- Capacity at weddings, funerals and religious services limited to 50 per cent capacity per room.
- Outdoor services must have two-metre distancing between all attendees.
- Employees must work remotely unless their work requires them to be on site.
- Gyms and other indoor recreational sport facilities closed, except athletes training for the Olympics and Paralympics and certain professional and elite sports leagues.
- Outdoor facilities are permitted but with a 50 per cent capacity limit on spectators.
- Museums, galleries, zoos, science centres, historic sites, amusement parks, festivals and other attractions closed.
- Outdoor establishments allowed with restrictions and capacity limits.
- Indoor meeting and event spaces closed with limited exceptions, expect those with outdoor spaces, which can operate with restrictions.
The new measures will come into effect on Wednesday, Jan. 5 at 12:01 a.m.
PHOTO: Ontario Premier Doug Ford.