Ontario Is Heading Into A Modified Step 2 This Week & Here's Everything You Need To Know

Your plans for this month are probably cancelled.

Toronto Staff Writer
Ontario Is Heading Into A Modified Step 2 This Week & Here's Everything You Need To Know

If your New Year's resolution was to be more social, hit the gym or dine at a new restaurant, you may be out of luck for the next little while as the province enters a modified step two of the Roadmap to Reopen.

The Ontario government just announced that new restrictions will be put into place to combat increased COVID-19 hospitalizations and the quickly spreading Omicron variant.

Starting Wednesday, January 5 at 12:01 a.m., indoor dining at restaurants and bars will no longer be allowed, schools and gyms will close, and new gathering and capacity limits will be put in place.

These changes will last for at least 21 days, which means restrictions could stay in place until at least January 26 (with the exception of school closures).

Here's everything you need to know before then.

Restaurants, bars & gyms

Restaurants and bars will be required to shut down indoor dining as of January 5 at 12:01 a.m. until at least January 26; however, they will be permitted to offer outdoor dining with some restrictions, delivery, takeout and drive-thru options.

Alcohol will still only be served until 10 p.m. and must be consumed before 11 p.m.

Liquor stores, convenience stores and grocers are exempt from this rule, so you can still hit up Metro for a late-night beer run.

Gyms and other indoor sports and recreation facilities will also close down, with an exemption for Olympic and Paralympic training and "select professional and elite amateur sport leagues," according to a government handout.

Outdoor facilities will be able to remain open, but the number of spectators must stay under 50% capacity in addition to "other requirements."

Schools

Ontario schools will close down and move to remote learning from January 5 to at least January 17 — however, this timeline is "subject to public health trends and operational considerations," according to the government.

Schools will be able to remain open for "emergency child care," for teachers who cannot teach remotely and for "students with special education needs who cannot be accommodated remotely."

Free emergency child care will also be provided for the children of "health care and other eligible frontline workers" for the duration of remote learning.

Gathering & capacity limits

Social gatherings will be reduced to five people indoors and ten people outdoors.

Indoor weddings, funerals, religious services, ceremonies and rites will have a 50% capacity, and outdoor counterparts will be capped at however many people can be physically distanced at 2 meters apart.

"Social gatherings associated with these services must adhere to the social gathering limits," according to the government.

Indoor meeting and event spaces will close with "limited exceptions," but outdoor meeting spaces can remain open with some restrictions.

Libraries, shopping malls, retail stores, personal care services and boat tours will operate at 50% capacity, and lineups to get into these establishments must be physically distanced. Food courts will be closed.

Outdoor facilities for horse or car racing, zoos, museums, gardens, amusement parks, water parks, fairs, festivals and other attractions will remain open with a capacity limit of 50%.

Indoor rehearsals and recorded performances will also be allowed with some restrictions.

In addition to capacity limits, businesses and organizations will also be required to send employees home to work remotely "unless the nature of their work requires them to be on-site."

What else is closed?

  • Indoor concert venues, theatres and cinemas
  • Indoor museums, galleries, zoos, science centres, landmarks and botanical gardens
  • Indoor waterparks and amusement parks
  • Indoor horse racing tracks and car racing tracks
  • Indoor fairs, rural exhibitions and festivals
  • Saunas, steam rooms and oxygen bars

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

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