Here we go again – 2022 starts with another round of restrictions

(On January 3, 2022, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announces time-limited health measures in the Modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen that will take effect on January 5, 2022 until at least January 26th. Photo: Premier’s YouTube channel)

Due to the high number of COVID cases in Ontario, an uncommon Sunday evening cabinet meeting took place with Premier Doug Ford and his ministers. The meeting brought about the restrictions introduced January 3rd to assist in reducing the rapid spread of Omicron. Expected to remain in place until at least January 26th, these restrictions will affect everyone in our day-to-day activities. Below is a breakdown of the public health measures that will begin on Wednesday, January 5th:

Schools and child care:

  • All publicly funded and private schools will move to remote learning starting Wednesday, January 5th until at least January 17th
  • Free child care will be provided for school-aged children of health care and other eligible frontline workers while leaning is remote
  • School buildings can open for emergency child care, instruction for students with special education needs who cannot be accommodated remotely and for staff who cannot deliver quality teaching from home

Hospitals:

  • Hospitals must pause all non-emergent and non-urgent surgeries and procedures in order to preserve critical care and human resource capacity

Gatherings and services:

  • Social gathering will be limited to five people indoors and 10 people outdoors
  • Organized public events will be limited to five people indoors
  • Indoor weddings, funerals and religious services, rites and ceremonies will be limited to 50 per cent room capacity, while outdoor services are limited to the number of people that can maintain two metres of physical distance
  • Indoor meeting and event spaces must be closed with some exceptions, but outdoor spaces can open with restrictions

Restaurants, bars and clubs:

  • Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments must close indoor dining rooms
  • Takeout, drive through, delivery and outdoor dining can continue with restrictions
  • Alcohol sales will be restricted after 10:00 p.m., as will the consumption of alcohol in businesses or settings after 11:00 p.m., with exemptions for delivery and takeout, grocery, convenience stores and other liquor stores

Sports and recreation:

  • Indoor sport and recreational fitness facilities including gyms must be closed, except for athletes training for the Olympics and Paralympics and select professional and elite amateur sport leagues
  • Outdoor facilities are permitted to operate with restrictions and with spectator occupancy limited to 50 per cent capacity

Retail and other indoor businesses:

  • Retail settings, including shopping malls, are permitted to stay open at 50 per cent capacity
  • Food courts must be closed in shopping malls
  • Physical distancing will be required in line-ups in shopping malls and loitering will not be allowed
  • Personal care services can stay open at 50 per cent capacity, with other restrictions in place
  • Saunas, steam rooms and oxygen bars must close
  • All employers are must let employees work remotely unless their job requires them to be on site

Libraries:

  • Public libraries will be open with a 50 per cent capacity

Theatres, entertainment venues and other attractions:

  • Indoor concert venues, theatres, cinemas, rehearsals will be closed
  • Recorded performances will be permitted with restrictions
  • Museums, galleries, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions, amusement parks and waterparks, tour and guide services and fairs, rural exhibitions, and festivals must be closed, but outdoor establishments can open with restrictions
  • Indoor horse racing tracks, car racing tracks and other similar venues must be closed. Outdoor establishments are permitted to open with restrictions and with spectator occupancy limited to 50 per cent capacity

To read the full release from the Premier’s office: https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/1001394/ontario-temporarily-moving-to-modified-step-two-of-the-roadmap-to-reopen.

Dr. Vera Etches, Medical Officer of Health for Ottawa, along with Mayor Jim Watson, Councillor Keith Egli, Chair, Ottawa Board of Health and Kim Ayotte, General Manager, Emergency and Protective Services will be responding to media inquiries on the COVID-19 pandemic at 2:00pm on January, 4th. Residents can watch on the City’s YouTube channel.


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