Ontario plans to lift capacity limits and proof of vaccination requirements

The province will lift measures effective Feb 17

Ontario plans to lift capacity limits and proof of vaccination requirements

by Rhonda B. Levy and Barry Kuretzky of Littler

Ontario first released its plan to follow a cautious and phased approach to lifting COVID-19 public health and workplace safety measures on January 20, 2022. On February 14, 2022, however, Ontario announced that with key public health and health system indicators improving and the peak of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 behind us, it will be easing public health measures sooner than anticipated (February 17, 2022).  If public health and health system indicators continue to improve, Ontario will be taking additional steps to ease public health measures on March 1, 2022.  The focus of the first step is on the removal or easing of capacity limits.  The focus of the second step is on the lifting of capacity limits in all remaining indoor public settings, and on the lifting of proof of vaccination requirements for all settings. 

O. Reg. 75/22 amending O. Reg. 364/20, Rules For Areas At Step 3 And At The Roadmap Exit Step, was filed on February 14, 2022, and gives effect to these new measures, which come into effect on February 17, 2022. 

Effective February 17, 2022

Ontario will further ease public health measures effective February 17, 2022, including, but not limited to:

  • Increasing social gathering limits to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors;
  • Increasing organized public event limits to 50 people indoors, with no limit outdoors;
  • Removing capacity limits in the following indoor public settings where proof of vaccination is required, including but not limited to:
    • Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments without dance facilities;
    • Non-spectator areas of sports and recreational fitness facilities, including gyms;
    • Cinemas;
    • Meeting and event spaces, including conference centres or convention centres;
    • Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments; and
    • Indoor areas of settings that choose to opt in to proof of vaccination requirements.
  • Allowing 50% of the usual seating capacity at sports arenas
  • Allowing 50% of the usual seating capacity for concert venues and theatres
  • Increasing indoor capacity limits to 25% in the remaining higher-risk settings where proof of vaccination is required, including nightclubs, restaurants where there is dancing, as well as bathhouses and sex clubs
  • Increasing capacity limits for indoor weddings, funerals or religious services, rites, or ceremonies to the number of people who can maintain two metres’ physical distance. This capacity limit is removed if:
    • the location opts in to use proof of vaccination; or
    • the service, rite, or ceremony is occurring outdoors.

Effective March 1, 2022

If public health and health system indicators continue to improve, Ontario intends to take additional steps to ease public health measures effective March 1, 2022, including:

  • Lifting capacity limits in all remaining indoor public settings; and
  • Lifting proof of vaccination requirements for all settings.

Businesses and other settings may, however, choose to continue to require proof of vaccination. Masking requirements will remain in place.  A specific timeline to lift this requirement will be communicated at a later date.

Recent articles & video

Worker dismissed for not taking COVID vaccine can't get EI, court rules

Many DEI programs falling short of expectations

'Great regret': 8 in 10 workers regret leaving during great resignation

Will biophilic design help bring workers back to the office?

Most Read Articles

Jealousy, gossip and ‘toxic’ colleagues: Is Tall Poppy Syndrome killing your culture?

Ontario municipality makes 4-day work week permanent

Working hard or hardly working? The rise of digital nomads