Ontario announces three-step plan to gradually lift COVID-19 restrictions
Ontario announced it will allow indoor dining and gyms to reopen and will increase gathering limits on Jan. 31 as part of a three-step plan to ease COVID-19 restrictions in the province.
"We can be confident that the worst is behind us as we look to cautiously ease public health measures," Premier Doug Ford said Thursday. "We are now in a position to cautiously and gradually ease public health measures."
Starting Jan. 31, social gathering limits will increase to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, the province said.
Indoor dining, gyms, retailers, shopping malls, and cinemas can reopen at 50 per cent capacity.
Museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments can also reopen.
The government will also allow spectators at sporting events, concert venues and theatres at 50 per cent seated capacity or 500 people, whichever is less.
Each step of reopening will be separated by 21 days in order for the province to monitor public health trends.
"We want to do everything humanly possible to avoid having to go backwards," Ford said. "If that means pausing between steps for a few extra days, we won't hesitate to do so."
On Feb. 21, Ontario will increase indoor social gathering limits to 25 people indoors and 100 people outdoor.
At this time, the province will also remove capacity limits in indoor public settings where proof of vaccination is required, including restaurants, indoor sports and recreational facilities, and cinemas.
Indoor capacity limits of 25 per cent will be put in place for higher-risk settings where proof of vaccination is required, including nightclubs, wedding receptions in event spaces where there is dancing, as well as bathhouses and sex clubs.
Other settings that choose to opt-in to proof of vaccination requirements will also be allowed to lift capacity limits.
Spectator capacity at sporting events, concert venues, and theatres will be 50 per cent capacity on Feb. 21.
Indoor public settings where proof of vaccination is not required will be limited to the number of people that can maintain two metres of physical distance.
On March 14, Ontario will lift all capacity limits in indoor public settings, but proof of vaccination will still be in effect.
Social gathering limits will increase to 50 people indoors at the time, with no limits for outdoor gatherings. Remaining capacity limits on religious services, rites, or ceremonies will also be lifted at this time.
A date for lifting Ontario's proof of vaccination system and mask mandate was not announced.
"There are some positive signs that we may be reaching the peak of the Omicron wave in Ontario," Health Minister Christine Elliott said. "However, we still need to remain humble and cautious."
Ford said the province is not currently considering updating its proof of vaccination requirement from two doses to three.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore said the decision to start reopening the economy was made because there are positive indicators that COVID-19 transmission is starting to ease.
"The percentage of tests that are positive is on the decline at 15 per cent, so that is one indicator we're following very closely, as well the ability to care for Ontarians in the intensive care unit setting as well as in the hospital," he said.
Moore did not give a date for when non-urgent surgeries, which was paused earlier this month, will be allowed to resume.
Toronto Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Justice advocate David Milgaard, a man who was wrongfully convicted of murder and spent more than two decades in prison, has died.
Aaron Salter was one of 10 killed in an attack whose victims represented a cross-section of life in the predominantly Black neighbourhood in Buffalo, New York. They included a church deacon, a man at the store buying a birthday cake for his grandson and an 86-year-old who had just visited her husband at a nursing home.
In Kharkiv, Ukraine, you can still hear the sound of explosions, but now it's outgoing, with the Ukrainians firing at the Russians in retreat. Russia started withdrawing its forces from around Ukraine's second-largest city earlier this week after near constant bombardment.
The white 18-year-old who shot and killed 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket had researched the local demographics and drove to the area a day in advance to conduct reconnaissance with the intent of killing as many Black people as possible, officials said Sunday.
A man opened fire during a lunch reception at a Southern California church on Sunday before being stopped and hog-tied by parishioners in what a sheriff's official called an act of 'exceptional heroism and bravery.'
Not long before Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine in February, CTV News' Chief International Correspondent Paul Workman returned to Afghanistan, a country he last visited in 2008 that is now faced with a humanitarian crisis under Taliban rule.
Sunday night's Juno Awards, hosted by 'Shang-Chi' star Simu Liu, honoured Canadian artists such as Avril Lavigne and Montreal singer-songwriter Charlotte Cardin
While the Red River is starting to recede in southern Manitoba, flood waters linger in communities and more than 2,000 people are still displaced.
The lawyer for the family of a British Columbia Indigenous woman fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B., during a wellness check two years ago said a coroner's inquest opening Monday offers a chance for her loved ones to get long-awaited answers.
A body was discovered in the trunk of a vehicle that was set on fire Sunday in Montreal's east end.
A man in his 30s is in critical condition in a Montreal hospital after being hit by a tanker truck and dragged for several metres.
New regulations on pet ownership and breeding in Quebec came out this week including major advances for pet care and the humane treatment of horses. The new Animal Welfare and Safety Act would also ban non-therapeutic surgeries like declawing in cats, and tail-docking or ear-cropping in dogs.
Nancy Allen's home is known by many as the house with the white stone-made polar bears which have sat in her garden for over 30 years, but on Wednesday morning she woke up to find one of them had been stolen.
Three people have been charged in connection with an alleged homicide in Grand Bend
A 22-year-old woman wanted on two arrest warrants is facing an additional charge after she was found in possession of $2,000 of fentanyl, police say.
Waterloo regional police are investigating the suspicious death of an eight-year-old and continue to look for a man in Cambridge.
A feathered family was reunited in Waterloo Saturday.
A crash has resulted in three people being injured and a major road in Kitchener partially shut down on Sunday afternoon.
It's a golfers "Day for Ukraine" in Sudbury.
The Royal Canadian Legion's 52nd biennial covention of the Ontario Provincial Command is continuing this weekend.
DEVELOPING | MNRF evacuation advisory for Shining Tree
MNRF officials are advising residents of Shining Tree to evacuate due to a fire.
NEW THIS MORNING
NEW THIS MORNING | Ottawa high school that held dress code 'blitz' to hold discussions with students
The Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est continues to investigate the dress code "blitz" at École secondaire catholique Béatrice-Desloges last Thursday, which students said left them feeling degraded and humiliated.
Witnesses shared photos and videos with CTV News Ottawa that showed a possible landspout tornado south of Casselman around 4:20 p.m. on Sunday.
NEW THIS MORNING
NEW THIS MORNING | Construction season officially kicks off in Ottawa
Construction season officially kicks off in Ottawa today, with tens of millions of dollars worth of projects on the agenda this spring and summer.
Windsor mayor's call for residents to vote PC in provincial election leaves some feeling 'alienated'
Community organizer Kiemia Rezagian says she was "surprised" and "disappointed" to see Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens openly advise residents in the city to vote for Progressive Conservatives candidates in the provincial election
A “Ukrainian Style” fundraiser picnic takes place Sunday afternoon to help support newly arrived families from Ukraine.
Ontario health officials are reporting the lowest number of ICU admissions due to COVID-19 this year, with 151 patients currently being treated.
The demand is high just two days into this year’s camping season.
High school students in Stayner held a plant sale on Sunday.
The Simcoe County Museum in Minesing is celebrating its opening for the summer.
Eighteen months after a public inquiry was established in Nova Scotia to investigate the worst mass shooting in modern Canadian history, lawyers representing most of the 22 victims say they are troubled about its slow progress and lack of witness testimony.
A workplace death investigation is underway following a fatality last week at a Michelin tire plant in Nova Scotia.
The Calgary Flames have defeated the Dallas Stars 3-2 in overtime in Game 7 of their first-round NHL playoff series Sunday night to advance to the second round.
Calgarians gathered in front of city hall Sunday to rally in support of a woman’s right to abortion as a leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft decision brings the issue to the forefront of conversation on both sides of the border.
Fire officials say a man was severely burned in an incident that occurred in the kitchen of a northeast Calgary home on Sunday afternoon.
A train derailment in the heart of Winnipeg on Saturday is now under investigation.
'It just gives me hope that she can get through this': Dozens rally for teen girl brutally beaten in Surrey
Dozens of people gathered in Surrey Sunday morning to show support for a teenage girl who was brutally beaten last weekend.
The devastating fire at Gastown’s Winters Hotel has brought more attention to the issues plaguing Vancouver's single-room occupancy residences.
The stairs are crumbling and unusable. The windows and doors are boarded up. The roof is old and growing weeds. But this two-bedroom home on Broadway in East Vancouver is on the market for $1.5 million.
The Oilers aren't settling for the second round.
Rearview mirrors are in short supply at Commonwealth Stadium right now, as the Edmonton Elks do their collective best to forget the short-term past and focus on any kind of future.
The new avian flu is creating challenges for Alberta's largest animal rescue organization as it responds to suspected cases.