December 17, 2021
Ontario government announces new COVID-19 restrictions
Premier Doug Ford announced new COVID-19 restrictions will begin at midnight on Jan. 5, 2022. Measures that will impact business owners and landscape horticulture professionals include:
- Businesses and organizations are required to ensure employees work from home unless the nature of their work requires them to be on-site.
- Retail stores limited to 50 per cent capacity.
- Eligible businesses required to reduce capacity to 50 per cent, such as smaller retail stores, will receive a rebate payment equivalent to 50 per cent of their costs, while businesses required to close for indoor activities, such as restaurants and gyms, will receive a rebate payment equivalent to 100 per cent of their costs. The government says a full list of eligible business types will be made available when applications for the program open later this month.
- Effective January 1, 2022, the government is also providing up to $7.5 billion for a six-month interest- and penalty-free period for Ontario businesses to make payments for most provincially administered taxes.
“As we continue with our provincial vaccine booster efforts, we must look at every option to slow the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant,” said Premier Doug Ford. “Putting these targeted and time-limited measures in place will give us more opportunity to deliver vaccines to all Ontarians and ensure everyone has maximum protection against this virus.”
Read the full announcement
The province will return to the modified version of Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen 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. These measures include:
- Reducing social gathering limits to five people indoors and 10 people outdoors.
- Limiting capacity at organized public events to five people indoors.
- Requiring businesses and organizations to ensure employees work remotely unless the nature of their work requires them to be on-site.
- Limiting capacity at indoor weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites and ceremonies to 50 per cent capacity of the particular room.
- Outdoor services are limited to the number of people that can maintain 2 metres of physical distance.
- Social gatherings associated with these services must adhere to the social gathering limits.
- Retail settings, including shopping malls, permitted at 50 per cent 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 permitted at 50 per cent capacity and other restrictions. Saunas, steam rooms, and oxygen bars closed. Closing indoor meeting and event spaces with limited exceptions but permitting outdoor spaces to remain open with restrictions. Public libraries limited to 50 per cent capacity.
- Closing indoor dining at restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments. Outdoor dining with restrictions, takeout, drive through and delivery is permitted. 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.
- Closing indoor concert venues, theatres, cinemas, rehearsals and recorded performances permitted with restrictions.
- Closing museums, galleries, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions, amusement parks and waterparks, tour and guide services and fairs, rural exhibitions, and festivals. Outdoor establishments permitted to open with restrictions and with spectator occupancy, where applicable, limited to 50 per cent capacity.
- Closing indoor horse racing tracks, car racing tracks and other similar venues. Outdoor establishments permitted to open with restrictions and with spectator occupancy limited to 50 per cent capacity. Boat tours permitted at 50 per cent 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 per cent occupancy and other requirements.
- 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.
- Ontario Updating Public Health Measures and Guidance in Response to Omicron
- Updated Eligibility for PCR Testing and Case and Contact Management Guidance in Ontario
- Ontario Further Strengthening Response to Omicron
- All Ontarians 18+ Eligible for COVID-19 Booster Appointments at Three-Month Interval
- Anyone who meets provincial testing eligibility criteria can go to an assessment centre, participating pharmacy, or specimen collection centre for testing. Visit Ontario.ca/covidtestinglocations to find a testing location and for eligibility criteria to be tested.
- For public inquiries, please contact the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900 (TTY for people who are deaf, hearing-impaired or speech-impaired: 1-866-797-0007).
- For resources in multiple languages to help local communication efforts in responding to COVID-19, visit Ontario’s COVID-19 communication resources webpage.
- Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect the people of Ontario from COVID-19.
- Business who have questions about public health and workplace safety measures can call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.
- For public inquiries call ServiceOntario, INFOline at 1-866-532-3161 (Toll-free in Ontario only)