On January 3, 2022, the Government of Ontario announced that, as a temporary measure, the province would revert to a modified version of Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen as of 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, January 5, 2022. This measure, currently intended to remain in place until January 26, 2022, is intended to help the province handle the surge in cases caused by the highly contagious Omicron variant.
Full details of what Step Two entails, including rules relating to schools and social gatherings, are available in the latest version of O.Reg. 263/20. In summary form, the key provisions relatingspecifically to commercial activities are as follows:
- Businesses and organizations must now ensure that their employees work remotely unless the nature of their work requires them to be on site;
- Indoor dining at restaurants, bars and other dining or drinking establishments must close;
- Outdoor dining (with restrictions), takeout, drive-thru and delivery are permitted;
- Retail settings, including shopping malls, may operate at 50% capacity.
- At shopping malls, physical distancing will be required in queues, food courts must close and loitering will not be allowed;
- Personal care services may operate at 50% capacity (with certain restrictions);
- Saunas, steam rooms and oxygen bars are closed;
- Sales of alcohol are restricted after 10 p.m. An 11 p.m. cutoff applies to the on-site consumption of alcohol in businesses and settings where such consumption is permitted. (Delivery and takeout, grocery/convenience stores and other retail liquor operations are exempt);
- Indoor meeting and event spaces must close, with limited exceptions; outdoor spaces may remain open with certain restrictions;
- Indoor concert venues, theatres, cinemas are closed; rehearsals and recorded performances are permitted with restrictions;
- 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 are all closed. (Outdoor establishments are permitted to open with restrictions and with spectator occupancy, where applicable, limited to 50% capacity);
- Indoor horse-racing tracks, car-racing tracks and other similar venues are closed. (Outdoor establishments may operate with restrictions and with spectator occupancy limited to 50% capacity);
- Boat tours may operate at 50% capacity;
- Gyms and other indoor sport and recreational fitness facilities are closed, with exceptions for elite and professional athletes. Outdoor facilities are permitted to operate but with spectator occupancy limited to 50% capacity and other restrictions); and
- Capacity at indoor weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites and ceremonies is limited to 50% capacity of the relevant 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 of 5 people indoors …….