Ontario mandates 10 people indoor social gathering limits starting Sunday

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Any indoor business will also be limited to 50 per cent capacity

The Ontario government says to mitigate COVID-19 transmission that can occur at informal social gatherings, the province is reducing social gathering limits to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.

It’s one of the measures announced this afternoon to try to slow the number of cases of COVID-19 in the province as the Omicron variant continues to infect more people in the province. Premier Ford said at a news conference this afternoon, “unless action is taken quickly there will be severe consequences.”

Also announced today

Ontario is introducing a 50 per cent capacity limit in the following indoor public settings:

  • Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments and strip clubs;
  • Personal care services;
  • Personal physical fitness trainers;
  • Retailers (including grocery stores and pharmacies);
  • Shopping malls;
  • Non-spectator areas of facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities (e.g. gyms);
  • Indoor recreational amenities;
  • Indoor clubhouses at outdoor recreational amenities;
  • Tour and guide services; and
  • Photography studios and services; and
  • Marinas and boating clubs.

These limits do not apply to any portion of a business or place that is being used for a wedding, a funeral or a religious service, rite, or ceremony. Businesses or facilities will also need to post a sign stating the capacity limits that are permitted in the establishment.

To further reduce the spread of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, additional protective measures are also being applied:

  • The number of patrons permitted to sit at a table will be limited to 10 people and patrons will be required to remain seated in restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments, meeting and event spaces and strip clubs.
  • Bars and restaurants, meeting and event spaces and strip clubs will be required to close by 11 p.m. Take out and delivery will be permitted beyond 11 p.m.
  • Dancing will not be allowed except for workers or performers.
  • Food and/or drink services will be prohibited at sporting events; concert venues, theatres and cinemas; casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments; and horse racing tracks, car racing tracks and other similar venues.
  • The sale of alcohol will be restricted after 10 p.m. and consumption of alcohol in businesses or settings after 11 p.m.

These restrictions will come into effect on 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, December 19 and it’s hoped it will slow the rate of infection so the province can get as many vaccines in arms as possible.

As for children returning to school, Premier Ford says it is too early to say what will happen in January.

“The situation is evolving too quickly,” he said at a news conference this afternoon.

Ford says it is the province’s goals to do “whatever is necessary to protect students and staff.”