Ontario's Reopening Plan Starts Monday & These Are All The Rules You Need To Know

Indoor dining, gyms, and more are finally opening again.

Toronto Associate Editor
Ontario's Reopening Plan Starts Monday & These Are All The Rules You Need To Know

Things will finally start getting back to normal next week as Ontario jumpstarts its reopening plan and begins loosening restrictions at businesses and venues across the province.

Starting Monday, January 31, at 12:01 a.m., Ontarians can go back to enjoying meals at their favourite restaurants again, as indoor dining will reopen at 50% capacity.

Gathering limits are also increasing from five to 10 people indoors, while outdoor gatherings will be able to have up to 25 people.

Everyone who's been missing their weekly workouts at the gym can go back for a proper sweat, as fitness facilities will reopen at half capacity.

Several other indoor public places will be back in business next week. The following services and venues will be able to reopen or remain open at 50% capacity:

  • Shopping malls
  • Movie theatres
  • Retailers, including grocery stores and pharmacies
  • Meeting and event spaces
  • Non-spectator areas of sports and recreational fitness facilities, including gyms
  • Amusement parks, water parks, and recreational amenities
  • Museums, galleries, zoos, aquariums, and other similar spots
  • Casinos, bingo halls, and other gaming venues
  • Religious services, rites, and ceremonies
  • Concert venues, sporting events, and other spectator areas (either at half capacity or a max of 500 people)

With the excitement of reopening, there are also some new rules and changes that will be hitting the province next week.

You can eat and drink at more venues, but with some limits

Anyone itching to have popcorn and soda at the movies will actually be able to do so now, but there are some rules.

In an email to Narcity, the Ministry of Health said everyone will have to stay seated while eating food or consuming drinks in order to limit the number of close contacts while masks are removed.

Masks will have to be put back on for whenever you're finished and will have to stay on for the rest of the time you're at the venue.

The rules apply to anyone watching a sporting event, catching a concert, or going to a bingo hall or other gaming establishment that's held indoors.

Contact tracing will be a thing of the past

Starting this Monday, businesses will no longer be required to gather guest information for contact tracing purposes.

"This is aligned with recent changes to the testing and case and contact management guidance and will allow businesses to focus their efforts on the enforcement of other public health measures in these settings, such as masking requirements," the ministry said.

Whenever there is a significant exposure, local public health units will still be able to notify residents about it through things like news releases.

You can go back to work

If you're tired of working from home, as of Monday, the government is lifting the legal requirement to work from home except where necessary.

"The Chief Medical Officer of Health recommends that individuals who are able to work from home continue to do so, helping to limit mobility and reduce the number of daily contacts," the ministry said.

Some health services will resume again

On January 5, the Ford government put a pause on all non-urgent surgeries and other procedures so as not to overwhelm hospitals' critical care units and preserve human resource capacity.

The Ministry of Health said the province will be taking a "phased approach" to bringing back some health services that were paused.

Cancer screening, diagnostic services, pediatrics, private hospitals, independent health facilities, and some ambulatory clinics will resume again as early as Monday.

"This approach is in line with our cautious and gradual approach to easing public health measures, while recognizing the ongoing pressures our hospitals are facing. Careful resumption of this activity, in these targeted areas, is least likely to adversely impact inpatient capacity readiness or health human resources in hospitals," the ministry said.

The Ontario government laid out a timeline for easing public health measures over the next couple of months, with the next date for major changes set for February 21.

Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on COVID-19 vaccines and can answer any questions you may have.

In Ontario, a vaccine passport is required to access some events, services and businesses, including restaurants and bars.

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