Skip to main content

Ontario slashing gathering sizes, reducing indoor capacity limits as COVID-19 cases soar


Ontario has announced new restrictions, including cutting gathering sizes and slashing capacity limits to 50 per cent for most indoor settings, as COVID-19 cases soar in the province.

Starting at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, gathering sizes will drop from 25 people to 10 people indoors. Outdoor gathering limits will be lowered to 25.

Ontario is reintroducing capacity limits of 50 per cent at most indoor settings across the province. This includes places like restaurants and bars, personal care services, retailers, and shopping malls.

Additionally, bars, restaurants and strip clubs will ordered to close at 11 p.m., with the exception of take out and delivery service. 

The number of people permitted to sit at a table will be restricted to 10 people, and patrons will be required to remain seated in restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments. 

Dancing will not be allowed, except for workers or performers.

The government has also ordered the suspension of food and drink services at sporting events, concert venues, theatres and cinemas, casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments, horse racing tracks, car racing tracks and other similar venues.

The sale of alcohol will be restricted after 10 p.m.

These limits do not apply to any portion of a business that is being used for a wedding, a funeral or a religious service, rite, or ceremony, the government says.

Sources told CTV News Toronto on Friday that Ontario expects to report 6,000 COVID-19 per day by the end of the weekend.

"While out intensive care units remain stable, we expect the number of admissions to grow as more people catch COVID-19, particularity the unvaccinated," Premier Doug Ford said Friday.

"The experts have been very clear, nothing can stop the spread of Omicron, it's just too transmissible. What we can do, what we are doing, is slowing it as much as possible to allow more time for shots to get into arms."

Ford also said it's "too soon" to say for sure whether schools will re-open as scheduled following the break for the holidays.

The new restrictions come one day after new modelling suggested Ontario could see intensive care capacity reach unsustainable levels in January without an "immediate circuit breaker" to blunt the spread of Omicron.

According to the Ontario's Science Advisory Table, increasing vaccination is "not enough to slow this wave."

The experts suggest an "immediate circuit breaker," where people in Ontario cut their contacts by at least 50 per cent and COVID-19 booster shot campaigns ramp up to 250,000 shots per day.

Earlier this week, Ontario announced it would be expanding eligibility for COVID-19 booster shots to anyone 18 and older starting Monday.

The required interval between a person's second dose and booster shot was shortened from six months down to three months.

The province also said it would be limiting capacity in some indoor spaces with more than 1,000 people to 50 per cent.

"I know you are tired," Ford said. "Over the last 20 months, you have been asked to sacrifice so much. We've all dug so deep and now we need to dig a little deeper. We'll get through this." Top Stories

Stay Connected