In an announcement this morning by Ontario Premier Doug Ford, the province confirmed it would be accelerating the lifting of health measures. These most recent measures were put in place on January 3 to combat the spread of the Omicron variant.
- Elimination of proof of vaccination requirements
- Booster shots approved for children 12-17 years old
- Social gatherings increased to 50 people indoors and 100 outdoors
- Capacity limits lifted for restaurants, bars and gyms and cinemas.
No concerts or sports?
The performing arts and sports sectors will remain under strict 50% capacity limitations. Despite their ability to follow protocols used in other industries, no reason was given to isolate these sectors from ongoing restrictions.
Bathhouses, sex clubs, nightclubs and restaurants with dancing will also remain limited to 25% capacity.
Despite the disappointing news, the province said if transition rates continue to decline, additional steps will be taken to ease remaining health restrictions. This includes opening concert halls to full capacity by March 1, 2022.
Not Fun Ontario
Ontario’s entertainment and recreation sectors are now one of the hardest hit in Canada, with billions of dollars in losses. The reason is directly related to the almost constant total or partial closures that have lasted for almost two years. This state of continuous flux gave the industry almost no time to recover.
Estimates suggest nearly all industries in the sector generated less than half of their pre-pandemic operating revenue in 2020, and only marginal improvement in 2021.
The reason for the impact, according to the government, is due to the in-person nature of the sectors. These include closures, cancellations, rescheduling, operating restrictions and changing consumer preferences for physical distancing, home and online activities.
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