Ontario Implements Additional Measures to Blunt Spread of Omicron Variant
Effective Wednesday, January 5, 2022, at 12:01 a.m.
For at least 21 days (until January 26, 2022), subject to trends in public health and health system indicators, the following measures will be in effect:
- Reducing social gathering limits to five people indoors and 10 people outdoors.
- Limiting capacity at organized public events to five people indoors.
Work From Home
- Requiring businesses and organizations to ensure employees work remotely unless the nature of their work requires them to be on-site.
50% Capacity Restrictions
- Limiting capacity at indoor weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites, and ceremonies to 50 percent capacity of the particular room. Outdoor services are limited to the number of people that can maintain 2 meters of physical distance. Social gatherings associated with these services must adhere to the social gathering limits.
- Retail settings, including shopping malls, are permitted at 50 percent capacity. For shopping malls physical distancing will be required in line-ups, loitering will not be permitted and food courts will be required to close.
- Personal care services are permitted at 50 percent capacity and other restrictions. Saunas, steam rooms, and oxygen bars closed.
- Public libraries are limited to 50 percent capacity.
- Restricting the sale of alcohol after 10 p.m. and the consumption of alcohol on-premise in businesses or settings after 11 p.m. with delivery and takeout, grocery/convenience stores, and other liquor stores exempted.
Business/Service Closures and Associated Limitations/Restrictions
- Closing indoor meeting and event spaces with limited exceptions but permitting outdoor spaces to remain open with restrictions.
- Closing indoor dining at restaurants, bars, and other food or drink establishments. Outdoor dining with restrictions, takeout, drive-through, and delivery are permitted.
- Closing indoor concert venues, theatres, cinemas, rehearsals, and recorded performances permitted with restrictions.
- Closing museums, galleries, zoos, science centers, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens, and similar attractions, amusement parks and waterparks, tour and guide services and fairs, rural exhibitions, and festivals. Outdoor establishments are permitted to open with restrictions and with spectator occupancy, where applicable, limited to 50 percent capacity.
- Closing indoor horse racing tracks, car racing tracks, and other similar venues. Outdoor establishments are permitted to open with restrictions and with spectator occupancy limited to 50 percent capacity. Boat tours are permitted at 50 percent capacity.
- Closing indoor sport and recreational fitness facilities including gyms, except for athletes training for the Olympics and Paralympics and select professional and elite amateur sport leagues. Outdoor facilities are permitted to operate but with the number of spectators not to exceed 50 percent occupancy and other requirements.
Schools & Day Care
- All publicly funded and private schools will move to remote learning starting January 5 until at least January 17, subject to public health trends and operational considerations.
- School buildings would be permitted to open for child care operations, including emergency child care, to provide in-person instruction for students with special education needs who cannot be accommodated remotely and for staff who are unable to deliver quality instruction from home.
- During this period of remote learning, free emergency child care will be provided for school-aged children of health care and other eligible frontline workers.
Financial Supports for Business Expanded by Federal & Provincial Governments
Federal Support Programs Expanded
- Expand the Local Lockdown Program to include employers subject to capacity-limiting restrictions of 50 percent or more, and reduce the current-month revenue decline threshold requirement to 25 percent. Eligible employers will receive wage and rent subsidies from 25 percent up to a maximum of 75 percent, depending on their degree of revenue loss. The 12-month revenue decline test is not required in order to access this support.
- Expand the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit to include workers in regions where provincial or territorial governments have introduced capacity-limiting restrictions of 50 percent or more.
Provincial Supports Announced
- Through the new Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program, eligible businesses will receive rebate payments equivalent to 50 percent of the property tax and energy costs they incur while subject to the current capacity limits. Applications will open in mid-January 2022.
- The province is also providing additional support to help improve cash flows for Ontario businesses by providing a six-month interest- and penalty-free period to make payments for most provincially administered taxes