On October 22nd, 2021, the Ontario government announced its plan to gradually lift all public health and workplace safety measures by March, 2022. The plan will be guided by public health indicators, including those tracking new COVID-19 variants, increases in hospitalizations, ICU occupancy and rapid increases in transmission.
Provisional Timeline for Removing COVID-19 Restrictions:
- October 25, 2021: As of 12:01 a.m., the government lifted capacity limits in the vast majority of settings where proof of vaccination is required, such as restaurants, bars, sports and recreational facilities, gaming establishments and indoor meeting and event spaces. Other settings, such as museums, religious services, personal care services or barber shops, may also lift capacity limits and physical distancing requirements if they choose to require proof of vaccination. This will not apply to settings where people receive medical care or supplies and grocery stores.
- November 15, 2021: The government plans to lift capacity limits in remaining higher-risk settings where proof of vaccination is required, including establishments with dance facilities (e.g., night clubs and strip clubs).
- January 17, 2022: Absent any concerning public health trends following the holidays, the government will lift capacity limits in settings where proof of vaccination is not required. Proof of vaccination requirements may also be lifted in restaurants, bars, sports and recreational facilities and gaming establishments.
- February 7, 2022: The government plans to lift proof of vaccination requirements in higher-risk settings, including night clubs.
- March 28, 2022: The government plans to lift other COVID-19 public health measures, including wearing face coverings in indoor public settings. The government plans to lift proof of vaccination requirements in all remaining settings.
To manage COVID-19 over the long-term, the government may deploy local and regional measures including: reintroducing capacity limits, physical distancing, limits on gathering and proof of vaccination requirements in certain settings.
Employers should continue to pay close attention to the latest public health restrictions to understand how they affect their business.
Many thanks to Juliette Mestre for her assistance with this article.