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Modified Step Two of Roadmap to Reopen effective January 5, 2022

Effort to blunt transmission of the Omicron variant and prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed

In response to a rapid increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, the Ontario government is temporarily placing the province into a modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen. This results in a number of public health and workplace safety measures, healthcare system decisions and education impacts.

Public health and workplace safety measures

  • Effective January 5, 2022 at 12:01 a.m. (and in place for at least 21 days):
    • Social gatherings limited to five people indoors; 10 people outdoors.
    • Organized public events limited to five people indoors.
    • Businesses/organizations required to ensure employees work remotely unless the nature of their work requires them to be on-site.
    • Indoor weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites and ceremonies limited to 50% capacity of the particular room. Outdoor services 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.
    • Retail settings, including shopping malls, permitted at 50% capacity. At shopping malls physical distancing will be required in line-ups, loitering will not be permitted and food courts will be required to close.
    • Personal care services permitted at 50% capacity and other restrictions. Saunas, steam rooms, and oxygen bars closed.
    • Indoor meeting and event spaces closed with limited exceptions, but permitting outdoor spaces to remain open with restrictions.
    • Public libraries limited to 50% capacity.
    • Indoor dining at restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments closed. Outdoor dining permitted with restrictions. Takeout, drive through and delivery is permitted.
    • Restricting the sale of alcohol after 10 p.m. and the consumption of alcohol on-premise in businesses or settings after 11 p.m. with delivery and takeout, grocery/convenience stores and other liquor stores exempted.
    • Closing indoor concert venues, theatres, cinemas, rehearsals and recorded performances 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 closed. Outdoor establishments 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 closed. Outdoor establishments permitted to open with restrictions and with spectator occupancy limited to 50% capacity. Boat tours permitted at 50% capacity.
    • Indoor sport and recreational fitness facilities including gyms closed, except for athletes training for the Olympics and Paralympics and select professional and elite amateur sport leagues. Outdoor facilities are permitted to operate but with the number of spectators not to exceed 50% occupancy and other requirements.

View the full list of mandatory public health and workplace safety measures.

    • Hospitals
      • On January 5, 2022, the Chief Medical Officer of Health will reinstate Directive 2 for hospitals and regulated health professionals, instructing hospitals to pause all non-emergent and non-urgent surgeries and procedures to preserve critical care and human resource capacity.
    • Schools
      • All publicly funded and private schools will move to remote learning starting January 5 until at least January 17, subject to public health trends and operational considerations.
      • School buildings would be permitted to open for childcare operations, including emergency childcare, to provide in-person instruction for students with special education needs who cannot be accommodated remotely and for staff who are unable to deliver quality instruction from home.

Data shows that the Omicron variant is less severe than other variants; however, it is highly transmissible, resulting in higher case numbers and more hospitalizations. Absenteeism is also expected to rise and affect operations in workplaces across Ontario due to Omicron infection and exposure, including in hospitals and schools.

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