Ontario Is Banning Indoor Dining, Shutting Down Gyms & More This Week

These health measures will stick around for at least 21 days.

Toronto Associate Editor
Ontario Is Banning Indoor Dining, Shutting Down Gyms & More This Week

You'll have to rethink your Saturday night dinner reservations in Ontario because the Ford government is tightening the province's public health measures amid growing concerns over the Omicron variant.

Among a slew of updates involving new public health measures on Monday, the Ontario government announced it is reimposing restrictions on restaurants, gyms and personal care services this week. These restrictions are similar to what the province experienced during Step 2 last summer.

"Putting these targeted and time-limited measures in place will give us more opportunity to deliver vaccines to all Ontarians and ensure everyone has maximum protection against this virus," Premier Ford said in the January 3 announcement.

Starting January 5, at 12:01 a.m. indoor dining will shut down at all restaurants, bars, and other food or drink establishments across the province. Before, restaurants closed down at 11 p.m. for the night, and tables were capped off at a max of 10 guests.

The Ford administration also announced several closures and capacity reductions for the following:

  • Retail settings like shopping malls will be capped at half of their capacity
  • Personal care services will be open at 50%; saunas, steam rooms and oxygen bars will be closed
  • Public libraries will be operating at 50% capacity
  • Indoor concert venues, theatres and cinemas will be closed but rehearsals and recorded performances will be allowed with restrictions
  • Museums, art galleries, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historical sites, botanical gardens, amusement and water parks, tour and guide services, fairs, festivals and rural exhibitions will also be closed. Ourdoor establishments will still be open with restrictions and spectator occupancy will only be limited to 50%.
  • Indoor sport and recreational facilities like gyms will be closed except for athletes training for the Olympics, Paralympics and select professional and elite amateur sports leagues. Outdoor facilities can operate but with only 50% capacity and other requirements.
  • Indoor horse racing and car racing tracks will be closed. Outdoor establishments, however, can operate at 50% occupancy for spectators

Gathering sizes will also be impacted by the new restrictions too, as informal indoor gatherings will only be able to accommodate up to five people. Schools will also move to remote learning for the next two weeks until at least January 17.

Ontario updated its public health measures for the province due to the transmissibility of the Omicron variant.

As of January 3, Health Minister Christine Elliott announced that there are 13,578 new cases in Ontario, including 248 people in the ICU with COVID-19.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Alex Arsenych
Toronto Associate Editor
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