On October 25 at 12:01 AM, bars and restaurants across the province of Ontario no longer had to observe the limited capacity mandate. This lifting of restrictions is in line with the recent announcement of Premier Doug Ford, Health Minister Christine Elliott, and other provincial officials during a press conference on Friday regarding the province’s exit from Step Three of its “Roadmap to Reopen.”
The said roadmap is the province’s three-step plan to safely and gradually lift public health measures based on the ongoing progress of province-wide vaccination rates and improvements of critical public health and health care indicators.
Notably, a similar announcement was made earlier this month concerning lifting capacity restrictions for venues requiring proof of vaccination like movie theatres, indoor concerts, and musical shows, including sporting events. However, there was no mention of bars and restaurants in the list of venues covered in the said announcement.
On a related note, Ontario has been stuck to Step 3 of its “Roadmap to Reopen” since mid-July this year. This delay was mainly due to the surge of test-positive cases in the province. “This will be slow, gradual, and cautious following data like we’ve been doing for the last year and a half,” Dr. Kieran Moore related when asked about how the province will move from Step 3 to a different, much higher phase. “We will not be doing this suddenly.”
Ontario Premier Doug Ford shared the same sentiment with Dr. Moore and said that he has always been cautious with the way things are going to be realized regarding the move from one level of the Roadmap to Reopen to a higher one. “If we don’t see the numbers in a stable place, we just aren’t going to do it,” Ford emphasized. “I’m going to be super cautious,” he pointed out.
Besides the announcement of lifting the capacity restrictions in bars and restaurants, the possible revocation of the mask requirement and proof of vaccination is also set to be implemented if the current low COVID-19 “trends” across Ontario continue.