You might want to rethink your guest list for the next party you host at your house because the Ontario government is cutting gathering sizes down again starting on Wednesday.
On Monday, the Ford administration unveiled a plethora of stricter public health measures amid concerns over the highly transmissible Omicron variant, and among them are smaller gathering sizes.
As of January 5 at 12:01 a.m., informal social gatherings will be reduced to five people indoors, and 10 people outdoors. Before, up to 10 guests could hang out inside and up to 25 people outside.
“While the risks for severe illness are lower with Omicron than with the previous variants of concern, it is far more transmissible and hospitalizations are expected to continue to increase placing greater pressure on our health system,” Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore, said in the January 3 announcement.
“It is difficult but necessary to apply additional public health and workplace safety measures to help stop the spread of the virus and protect our health system capacity. Please follow all public health measures and get vaccinated with your first, second or booster dose if you have not done already.”
Ontario opened up booster dose eligibilities to include everyone 18 years old and older back on December 20 in response to the Omicron variant and the rapidly rising case count in the province.
In the same announcement, the Ontario government announced it would also be cutting capacity limits in half at several places like personal care services, as well as closing down gyms and indoor dining at restaurants and bars. These strict public health measures will be put in place for the next 21 days at least and could expire by January 26.
These new public health measures shortly follow the ones Ontario implemented right at the end of 2021, where capacity limits at larger venues like movie theatres and sporting were sliced and COVID-19 testing and isolation periods were updated.
On January 3, Health Minister Christine Elliott announced that there are 13,578 new cases in Ontario.
Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on COVID-19 vaccines and can answer any questions you may have.