Doug Ford confirmed the rumours and delayed a return to in-class learning at schools as well as a host of new restrictions for Ontario as the province reverts to a modified version of Step 2 of the roadmap to reopen.
In a grim announcement on Monday morning, Ford conceded the province is “bracing for impact” and that if measures weren’t taken immediately “we could see hundreds of thousands of cases every single day.”
“This is a problem that will only get worse,” said Ford. “The math isn’t on our side.”
Here are the new restrictions and closures announced for Ontario that will take effect this Wednesday, January 5.
- All publicly funded and private schools must move to remote learning starting January 5 until at least January 17, subject to public health trends and operational considerations.
- School buildings will 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.
Restaurants, bars and cafes
- Restaurants, bars and cafes must close for indoor dining.
- Outdoor dining is permitted with restrictions.
- Takeout, drive through and delivery is permitted.
- There are new restrictions that prohibit 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.
Gyms and sports recreation facilities
- Gyms, indoor sports and recreational fitness facilities must close 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.
Hair salons, spas and personal care services
- Personal care services will be permitted to remain open at 50 per cent capacity.
- Saunas, steam rooms and oxygen bars must be closed.
Shopping and retail
- Retail settings, including shopping malls will be permitted to remain open but 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.
Concerts and events
- Concerts and other ticketed events are no longer allowed with in-person attendees. Raptors and Leafs games can continue but with no fans in attendance.
- Rehearsals and recorded performances are permitted to continue with restrictions.
- Capacity will be limited to five people indoors at all organized public events.
Cinemas and theatres
- Movie theatres and live theatre venue are no longer permitted to remain open.
Museums and galleries
- 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 must all close.
- Outdoor establishments are permitted to remain open with restrictions and with spectator occupancy, where applicable, limited to 50 per cent capacity.
- Meeting and event spaces will be closed with limited exceptions but outdoor spaces can remain open with restrictions.
- Public libraries can remain open at 50 per cent capacity.
- Office workers should continue to work remotely. Businesses and organizations should ensure employees work remotely unless the nature of their work requires them to be on-site.
Weddings, funerals and religious services
- Capacity will be limited 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.
- Indoor horse racing tracks, car racing tracks and other similar venues must close. Outdoor establishments are permitted to remain open with restrictions and with spectator occupancy limited to 50 per cent capacity.
- Boat tours are permitted to remain open at 50 per cent capacity.
Social gathering limits
- Social gathering limits will be reduced to five people indoors and 10 people outdoors.