COVID-19 Update for January 3, 2022 – Ontario to Introduce New Restrictions Due to Omicron Surge
After a rare Sunday afternoon Cabinet meeting, the provincial government is moving Ontario to a modified version of Step 2 in Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopen.
With daily cases reaching new records and growing concerns over the rapidly spreading Omicron variant, Premier Doug Ford has introduced new restrictions to help slow the spread, preserve hospital capacity and ensure more Ontarians can receive booster shots.
These measures, set to come into effect Wednesday, January 5, at 12:01am, include:
- A two-week delay to in-person learning in Ontario schools, being replaced with virtual learning, until at least January 17,
- Closure of most indoor public settings, including indoor areas of restaurants, bars, other food and drink establishments, and meeting and event spaces, such as conference rooms, with limited exemptions,
- Restrict social gatherings to a limit of five fully vaccinated individuals indoors and 10 individuals outdoors,
- Restrict organized public events to a limit of five individuals indoors; with no limits to outdoor organized public events but face coverings would be required when distancing cannot be maintained,
- Limit all retail, including grocery, discount and big box stores and personal care services (e.g., barbers, salons) at 50 percent capacity,
- Limit funerals, weddings, and religious services to 50 percent capacity,
- Pause non-emergent and non-urgent surgeries and procedures to preserve critical care and human resource capacity in the health care system.
The province is also mandating that businesses and organizations ensure their staff work from home unless the nature of their work requires them to be on-site.
These measures are planned to be in place for 21 days, until January 26, and will be reassessed subject to trends and key indicators, and in consultation with Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.