COVID-19 public health measures and advice

Find out about the latest public health measures, advice and restrictions.

Overview

To blunt the transmission of the Omicron variant and prevent our hospitals from becoming overwhelmed, Ontario temporarily moved into Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen with modifications on January 5, 2022.

The following public health and workplace safety measures are currently in effect. Please refer to O. Reg. 263/20 Rules for Areas in Step 2 for the complete list of measures and conditions that apply to certain businesses, organizations, places and individuals.

With key public health and health system indicators starting to show improvements, Ontario has released details of steps to cautiously and gradually ease public health measures, starting on January 31, 2022.

Learn more about how Ontario is planning to safely and gradually reopen.

If you have questions about what will be open or impacts to your business or employment, call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.

Gatherings and events

Social gatherings are permitted under the following conditions:

  • indoor gatherings limited to five people or fewer
  • outdoor gatherings limited to 10 people or fewer

Organized public events are permitted under the following conditions:

  • indoor events limited to five people or fewer
  • outdoor events have no limits on number of attendees, but face coverings and/or masks must be worn when distancing (two metres or more) cannot be maintained

Weddings, funerals, religious services, rites and ceremonies are permitted under the following conditions:

  • indoor services are limited to 50 per cent the capacity of the room
  • outdoor services are limited to the number of people who can maintain two metres distance
  • drive-in (motor vehicle) services permitted
  • social gatherings associated with these services must adhere to the social gathering limits

Retirement homes

Retirement homes are exempt from organized public event and social gathering restrictions if the home is in compliance with the policies or guidance, if any, issued by the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority.

Restrictions for businesses

Work from home

Businesses and organizations must make sure that all work is conducted remotely, unless the nature of the work requires workers to be on-site at the workplace.

Retail

All retail must operate under the following conditions:

  • 50 per cent capacity
  • music played is not above a decibel level where normal conversation is possible
  • active screening at photography studios and services
  • safety measures for vehicle test drives sales, such as a maximum of 10 minutes for a test drive, a maximum of two people in a vehicle, including one sales representative, windows must be rolled down, active screening, masking, etc.
  • safety measures for shopping malls, including capacity limits, no loitering, distancing in line ups, food courts closed and active screening.

Entertainment

Concert venues, theatres, cinemas, museums, galleries, zoos, science centres , landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions, amusement parks, waterparks, tour and guide services including boat tours, fairs, rural exhibitions and festivals must operate under the following conditions:

  • indoor areas of concert venues, theatres and cinemas closed except for rehearsing or performing a recorded or broadcasted performance, artistic event or performance, with restrictions
  • outdoor open with restrictions (such as masking on rides)
  • spectators at seated events at 50 per cent capacity
  • outdoor tours and boat tours at 50 per cent capacity
  • drive-in and drive through events permitted with restrictions, such as distancing between cars, only permitted to leave a vehicle in limited circumstances, etc.

Commercial film and television production

  • studio audiences not permitted
    • Restrictions, including performers must be distanced unless necessary

Personal care services

Saunas, steam rooms and oxygen bars will be closed.

Personal care services such as barbers, hair salons, tattoo parlours must operate under the following conditions:

  • 50 per cent capacity
  • no services where face coverings need to be removed
  • by appointment only
  • active screening
  • music played is not above a decibel level where normal conversation is possible

Recreational amenities

Recreational amenities, such as ski hills, ice rinks, bowling alleys and miniature golf, must operate under the following conditions:

  • indoor recreational amenities closed
  • outdoor recreational amenities open

Sports and recreational fitness activities

Indoor areas of facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities, including gyms, sporting events and personal training must operate under the following conditions:

  • indoor closed with limited exceptions and conditions (such as athletes training for Olympics and Paralympics, select professional and elite amateur sport leagues who will operate via an approved framework from the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and persons with disabilities for physical therapy)
  • outdoor open with spectators limited to 50 per cent capacity and other restrictions
  • proof of vaccination required for facilities with a usual capacity of 20,000 or more people

Meeting and events spaces, and food and drink establishments

Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments, including those with dance floors (such as nightclubs) and strip clubs must operate under the following conditions:

  • indoor service closed
  • take out, drive through and delivery allowed
  • outdoor areas open with restrictions including, but not limited to:
    • no more than 10 people from different households per table
    • groups larger than 10 people are allowed if they are from the same household, and can be joined by a caregiver and one person from a different household who lives alone
    • patrons must remain seated
    • no dancing or singing
    • active screening
    • limited hours for the sale, service and consumption of liquor

Meeting and event spaces, including conference centres and convention centres must operate under the following conditions:

  • indoor areas closed with exceptions, such as child care, court and government services, social services, health services, collective bargaining and mental health/addiction services up to 10 people, in-person exams for limited fields/occupations up to 50 people
  • outdoor areas open with restrictions including, but not limited to:
    • no more than 10 people per table
    • patrons must remain seated
    • no dancing or singing
    • active screening
    • limited hours for the sale, service and consumption of liquor

Casinos and racing venues

Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments will be closed.

Horse and car racing tracks and similar venues must operate under the following conditions:

  • indoor areas closed
  • outdoor areas open with restrictions, including mandatory reservations, spectators limited to 50 per cent of usual seating capacity and others
  • proof of vaccination required for outdoor facilities with a usual capacity of 20,000 or more people.

Short-term accommodation

Hotels, motels and similar establishments must operate under the following conditions:

  • open except for any area required to be closed, such as indoor gyms, pools, steam rooms/saunas
  • restaurants within the hotel or motel may offer takeout or delivery only

Short-term rentals must operate under the following conditions:

  • only open to those in need of housing (does not apply to hotels, motels, lodges, resorts and other shared rental accommodation, including student residences.)
  • ice fishing huts permitted with restrictions

Camps

Day and overnight camps are closed.

Other service providers

Liquor sales and service are permitted under the following conditions:

  • sale of alcohol must end at 10 p.m. and no consumption of alcohol on-premise in businesses or settings after 11 p.m., with the exception of delivery and takeout services, grocery and convenience stores and other liquor retail stores

Real estate agencies must operate under the following conditions:

  • property viewings by appointment only
  • no open houses

Businesses that provide in-person teaching or instruction (such as cooking classes, music classes) must operate under the following conditions:

  • indoor areas closed, except for organizations that provide health and safety training (with conditions)
  • outdoor areas open with restrictions in place, such as physical distancing

Driving instruction must be conducted under the following conditions:

  • limited to in-person instruction for drivers of commercial motor vehicles only.

Libraries and community centres must operate under the following conditions:

  • open with 50 per cent capacity, with limited exceptions, such as child care, social services

Bathhouses and sex clubs will be closed.

Returning to Our Plan to Safely Reopen Ontario

On January 5, 2022, additional public health measures were put in place to blunt transmission of the Omicron variant and prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. As a result of these temporary measures, we are beginning to see signs of stabilization in key public health and health system indicators. Over the coming days and weeks, we expect these trends to continue, allowing us to begin cautiously easing public health measures.

In the absence of concerning trends in public health and health care indicators, Ontario will follow a cautious and phased approach to lifting public health measures, with 21 days between each step.

Local and regional responses by public health units may be deployed based on local context and conditions.

This is not intended to be an exhaustive list, and additional details will be provided as regulations are amended and approved by the government.

Effective January 31, 2022
12:01 a.m.
  • increasing social gathering limits to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors
  • increasing capacity at organized public events to 25 people indoors
  • increasing or maintaining capacity limits at 50 per cent in most indoor public settings, including but not limited to:
    • restaurants, bars, other food or drink establishments without dance facilities and strip clubs
    • non-spectator areas of facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities (such as gyms and businesses offering personal fitness training)
    • cinemas
    • meeting and event spaces
    • museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions
    • casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments
  • allowing indoor spectator areas of facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities (such as sporting events), concert venues, and theatres to operate at 50 per cent of the usual seating capacity or 500 people, whichever is less
  • proof of vaccination requirements would continue to apply in existing settings
  • singing and dancing in restaurants and bars and other select settings will not be allowed except for workers or performers
  • requiring the number of patrons permitted to sit at a table in bars and restaurants and meeting and event spaces and other venues at which food or drink is sold or served, including nightclubs, restobars and strip clubs that serve food and drink to be limited to 10 people and patrons must remain seated
  • prohibiting food or drink services at indoor sporting events, concert venues, theatres and cinemas, bingo halls and other gaming establishments, and horse racing tracks, car racing tracks and other similar venues.
  • requiring patrons to remain seated at concert venues, theatres and cinemas
Effective February 21, 2022
  • increasing social gathering limits to 25 people indoors and 100 people outdoors
  • increasing capacity at organized public events to 50 people indoors
  • lifting the 500-person limit on indoor spectator events, in spectator areas of facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities (such as sporting events), concert venues, and theatres where proof of vaccination requirements are in effect, while requiring a capacity limit of 50 per cent of the usual seating capacity
  • increasing capacity limits to 100 per cent in the following indoor public settings where proof of vaccination requirements are in effect, including:
    • restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments and strip clubs
    • non-spectator areas of facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities (such as gyms and businesses offering personal fitness training)
    • cinemas
    • racing venues
    • meeting and event spaces
    • studio audiences in commercial film and television production
    • casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments
    • businesses or facilities that are permitted to “opt-in” to proof of vaccination requirements, during the time when proof of vaccination requirements are in effect.
  • indoor religious services, rites, or ceremonies limited to the number that can maintain two metres physical distance (no limit if proof of vaccination required).
  • increasing capacity limits to 25 per cent in the indoor areas of the following settings where proof of vaccination requirements are in effect:
    • food or drink establishments with dance facilities (such as nightclubs, wedding receptions in meeting or event spaces where there is dancing)
    • bathhouses and sex clubs
  • capacity limited to permit physical distancing in all other indoor public settings, including but not limited to:
    • personal care services
    • retailers (including grocery stores and pharmacies)
    • shopping malls.
  • requiring patrons to remain seated while eating or drinking at indoor restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments (with or without dance facilities), sporting events, concert venues, theatres and cinemas, casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments, and horse racing tracks, car racing tracks and other similar venues.
Effective March 14, 2022
  • lifting capacity limits in all public settings
  • increase social gathering limits to 50 people indoors with no limits outdoors
  • lifting remaining capacity limits on religious services, rites or ceremonies
  • proof of vaccination will be maintained in existing settings in addition to other regular measures

Contact us

If you have questions about what will be open or impacts to your business or employment, call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.

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