Ontario enters the first step of the reopening plan on Monday

Jan 27, 2022 | Headlines, News

Ontario’s chief medical officer of health announced some medical services will resume when the province starts lifting pandemic-related restrictions Monday.

“This approach is in line with our cautious and gradual approach to easing public health measures while recognizing the ongoing pressures our hospitals are facing,” said Dr. Kieran Moore during a press conference Thursday afternoon.

On Monday the province will resume some non-urgent health services including cancer screening and pediatrics, and reopen some ambulatory clinics and private health facilities.

The province will also let businesses reopen with 50 per cent capacity, including:

  • restaurants
  • bars and other food establishments with no dancing
  • gyms
  • libraries
  • retailers

Large spaces like theatres and arenas will be restricted to 500 people inside, or 50 per cent capacity, depending on what is less.

The province will allow food and drinks theatres, concert venues, and sporting events. Masks will be still needed when not eating.

“I want to thank Ontarians for the sacrifices you’ve made,” said Moore, “not only in these past weeks but over the past two years.”

Interior of Kaspace Cafe
Kaspace Cafe from the inside with the manager Iyana Mouana , Queen Str. East, Jan.27, 2022. Photo credit: Natalie Vasyliuk

The manager of Kaspace Cafe on Queen St. East expects to see more customers on Monday. Iyana Mouana says the pandemic forced her to combine her market and café into one store.

“In terms of how our business is, and our space is, we’ve found a positive twist,” said Mouana. “We managed ourselves to create something beautiful out of this.”

Prabhpreet Singh is looking forward to Monday’s reopening. “Honestly, it’s been very hard to just stay at home and do nothing,” he added.

Before the lockdown, Singh joined a volleyball team that plays in Mississauga.

“We haven’t been able to play this year, because the courts were shut down,” said Singh. “I’m more than glad that Ontario is reopening again and I can go for movies and volleyball on a regular basis.”

Under Monday’s rules, indoor social gatherings will be limited to no more than 10 people and up to 25 people at outdoor gatherings.

Open sign at Shish cafe, Queen Str. East, Jan. 27, 2022.
Open sign at Shish cafe, Queen Str. East, Jan. 27, 2022. Photo credit: Natalie Vasyliuk

On Feb 21, the government is planning to remove all the capacity limits for outdoor and indoor gatherings where proof of vaccination is needed. Nightclubs will still have to operate at 25 per cent capacity. Religious services will be allowed to host 50 people inside, with no limits outside.

The last step to reopening will begin on March 14, with the lifting of most capacity restrictions, although masks and proof of full vaccination will remain in place. Indoor social gatherings will be allowed with a limit of 50 people.