Ontario Moves Into A Modified Step 2 Tomorrow & We've Answered All Your Questions

We've answered your questions about travelling, universities and more.

Ontario Editor
Ontario Moves Into A Modified Step 2 Tomorrow & We've Answered All Your Questions

On Monday, Doug Ford announced that Ontario will be moving into a modified Step Two of reopening starting on January 5 at 12:01 a.m.

This means the province will see a bunch of new restrictions such as the closure of indoor dining, smaller gathering limits and schools switching to remote learning.

We asked you on Instagram what you wanted to know about the new plan and have compiled a list of answers below.

Are casinos closed?

As Ontario moves into this modified Step Two plan, a lot of businesses and venues will be shutting their doors, including casinos.

Other spots that will no longer be open starting January 5 include:

  • Indoor dining at restaurants and bars
  • Gyms
  • 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
  • Food courts
  • Day and overnight camps

However, spots like retail stores, some personal care services (such as hair salons), and libraries will remain open but will operate at a limited capacity.

How long will these new restrictions stay in place?

According to the Ontario government, these new restrictions will remain in place for at least 21 days (until January 26).

Schools (which will be switched to remote learning) are scheduled to return to in-person classes by January 17.

However, these opening dates could change and are "subject to public health trends and operational considerations."

How many people can I gather with indoors?

Starting on January 5, both indoor and outdoor gathering limits will shrink. If you're looking to spend time with friends or family, you'll only be allowed to have five people inside (you and your four closest friends.)

However, you can have a 10-person gathering if you plan on spending the entire time outdoors.

What about travelling?

According to the Government of Canada, there are currently no restrictions on travel when it comes to domestic or interprovincial travel.

Short-term accommodations, such as hotels and motels, are able to remain open (though indoor gyms, pools and indoor dining within the establishments must shut down).

However, the provincial government does note that short-term rentals should "only open to those in need of housing (does not apply to hotels, motels, lodges, resorts and other shared rental accommodation, including student residences)."

Why are non-urgent surgeries being cancelled?

On Monday, the Ontario government announced that starting January 5 all non-urgent surgeries would be paused. According to a press release this was done to "preserve critical care and human resource capacity."

The move comes as Minister of Health Christine Elliott warns that COVID-19 case numbers are expected to rise.

"This rapid rise of Omicron cases, combined with staff absenteeism due to Omicron infection and exposure, could result in the province's hospital capacity becoming overwhelmed if further action isn't taken to curb transmission," said Elliott.

What does this mean for universities?

In a statement to Narcity, a spokesperson for the Ontario Government stated that postsecondary schools are "autonomous entities and there are no changes to instructional spaces."

However, the government is encouraging "institutions to consider temporarily changing their mode of delivery from in-person to virtual and allow all staff to work remotely, where operationally feasible."

Multiple universities have already taken matters into their own hands. Western University announced that a majority of their classes will be held remotely until January 31.

The University of Toronto announced last month that all graduate and undergraduate courses would also be held online until January 31.

Allysha Howse
Ontario Editor
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