Ontario to Advance Reopening Plans

By Laura Steiner, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Ontario is accelerating its plans to reopen the economy by four days.  The next steps where scheduled to become effective February 21, and will now come into effect as of February 17, 2022.

“Given how well Ontario has done in the Omicron wave we are able to fast track our reopening plan,” Ford said.  The province is acting on recommendations from the Chief Medical Officer of  Health Dr. Kieran Moore.

As of Thursday February 17, 2022:

Capacity Limits increasing:

  • Indoor social gathering limits from 10 to 50 people indoors, and 100 people outdoors
  • Public event indoor limits to 50 people.  Capacity limits are eliminated for outdoor public events

Increasing capacity limits to 50% at:

  • Sports arenas
  • Concert venues
  • Theatres (as in Stratford)

Increasing limits to 25% at higher risk settings including:

  • nightclubs
  • restaurants with dancing
  • bathhouses
  • Sex clubs

Removal of capacity limits on where proof of vaccination is required: 

  • Restaurants, bars
  • Movie theatres
  • Gyms/ fitness facilities, as well as non-spectator areas

Capacity Limited by 2 metres social distance:

  • Grocery Stores, shopping malls, pharmacies
  • indoor weddings, funerals, religious services, rites, or ceremonies

Milton Residents React to Decision

Milton residents reacted favourably to the news.  “It’s time Ford and Trudeau wake up.  End the mandates Now,” Drew Lindsey wrote on Facebook.

Things aren’t moving fast enough for some.  “I personally don’t thing that things are moving fast enough,” Shannon Cori said.  “It’s a start, but this should have been done a long time ago as others have mentioned,” Von Thomas said.

If data allows, on March 1, the province plans to lift proof of vaccination requirements effective March 1, 2022. Masking requirements will remain in place for the time being. “Thanks to the efforts of Ontarians to help blunt the transmission of Omicron, our health care indicators suggest a general improvement in the COVID-19 situation in the province,” Moore said.