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Ontario ‘cautiously’ easing capacity limits in some settings where proof of vaccination is required

Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario, announced on Friday afternoon that the province would be easing capacity limits in some settings, where proof of vaccination is required.

“With public health and health care indicators stable and proof of vaccination now in effect, the government, based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, is cautiously easing capacity limits for select indoor and outdoor settings where proof of vaccination is required,” announced the government of Ontario in a release.

“With more and more Ontarians joining millions of others in rolling up their sleeves, our government is taking a safe and cautious approach to ease capacity limits in certain settings where proof of vaccination is required,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “With the added layer of protection offered by proof of vaccination, we are ensuring our businesses can remain safe and open as we continue to reach even more Ontarians who have yet to receive a first or second dose.”

Effective September 25, 2021, at 12:01 a.m., capacity limits will be increased in many indoor settings where proof of vaccination is required. Meeting and event spaces, such as banquet halls and conference/convention centres; sporting events; concerts, theatres and cinemas; racing venues (e.g., horse racing); and commercial and film television productions with studio audiences will be increased to up to 50 per cent capacity or 10,000 people (whichever is less) for indoor events.

For certain outdoor event venues where patrons stand, capacity limits will increase to up to 75 per cent capacity or 15,000 people (whichever is less). For certain outdoor event venues where patrons are seated, capacity limits will be increased to up to 75 per cent capacity or 30,000 people (whichever is less).

“This is in recognition of the fact that the risk of transmission is lower because of reduced mobility around the venue,” said the government. “In addition, proof of vaccination will now be required in outdoor settings where the normal maximum capacity is 20,000 people or more to help keep these venues safe for patrons.”

“Thanks to the tremendous efforts of Ontarians adhering to public health measures and going out to get vaccinated, some of our key public health and health care indicators are currently stable,” said Dr. Moore. “Work remains however, and we must all remain vigilant and continue following the measures and advice in place, and continue to work to vaccinate as many Ontarians as possible to achieve the highest immunization rates we can, and to increase our level of community immunity and protect those who cannot receive the vaccine.”

As of September 22, 2021, Ontarians are required to be fully vaccinated (two doses plus 14 days) with proof of vaccination along with ID to access certain public settings and facilities. Face coverings in indoor public settings and physical distancing requirements remain in place throughout Step Three. Anyone with symptoms or who is a known close contact of someone with COVID-19, and other groups that meet provincial testing eligibility criteria, should make an appointment at an assessment centre, participating pharmacy or specimen collection centre. Local medical officers of health have the ability to issue Section 22 orders under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, and municipalities may enact by-laws, to target specific transmission risks in the community.

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