ONTARIO RELEASES PLAN TO SAFELY REOPEN ONTARIO AND MANAGE COVID-19 FOR THE LONG-TERM
The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, has released a Plan to Safely Reopen Ontario and Manage Covid-19 for the Long-Term. The plan outlines the province’s gradual approach to lifting remaining public health and workplace safety measures by March 2022. The plan will be guided by the ongoing assessment of key public health and health care indicators; rollout is effective on October 25, 2021.
Ontario will slowly and incrementally lift all remaining public health and workplace safety measures, including the provincial requirement for proof of vaccination and wearing of face masks/coverings in indoor public settings over the next six months. Ontario will be rolling out this plan in phases, guided by the ongoing assessment and monitoring of key public health and health care indicators, such as the identification of any new COVID-19 variants, increases in hospitalizations, ICU occupancy, and rapid increases in transmission. All measures are to ensure that public health and workplace safety measures are lifted safely.
Public health and workplace safety measures will be lifted based on the proposed following milestones:
October 25, 2021
Due to improved key indicators, including ongoing stability in the province’s hospitals, Ontario will lift capacity limits in the vast majority of settings where proof of vaccination is required, such as restaurants, bars, and other food/drink establishments; Indoor areas of sports and recreational facilities such as gyms and where personal physical fitness trainers provide instruction; casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments; indoor meetings and event spaces. Limits will be lifted in certain outdoor settings.
At this time, the government will also allow other settings to lift capacity limits and physical distancing requirements if they choose to require proof of vaccination, including:
- Personal care services (barber shops, salons, body art)
- Indoor areas of museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, science centers, 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
- Indoor areas of photography studios and services
Locations where a wedding, funeral or religious service, rite, or ceremony takes place may also implement proof of vaccination requirements for services, rites, or ceremonies at the location.
This will not apply to settings where people receive medical care, food from grocery stores and medical supplies.
November 15, 2021
The government intends to lift capacity limits in the remaining higher-risk settings where proof of vaccination is required, including food or drink establishments with dance facilities (e.g., night clubs, wedding receptions in meeting/event spaces where there is dancing).
January 17, 2022
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 intends to begin gradually lifting capacity limits in settings where proof of vaccination is not required. Proof of vaccination requirements may also begin to be gradually lifted at this time, including for restaurants, bars, sports and recreational facilities, casinos, bingo halls, and gaming establishments.
February 7, 2022
The government intends to lift proof of vaccination requirements in high-risk settings.
March 28, 2022
At this time, it is intended that remaining public health and workplace safety measures will be lifted, including wearing face coverings in indoor public settings. Recommendations may be released for specific settings, if appropriate.
To manage COVID-19 over the long-term, local and regional responses by public health units will be deployed based on local context and conditions. Public health measures that may be applied locally could include reintroducing capacity limits and/or physical distancing, reducing gathering limits and adding settings where proof of vaccination is required, among others. Public health measures would be implemented provincially in exceptional circumstances, such as when the province’s health care system capacity is at risk of becoming overwhelmed or if a vaccine resistant COVID-19 variant is identified in the province.