Ontario lifts limits on restaurants, bars, sports complexes

Ontario is lifting remaining capacity limits for most places where proof of vaccination is required, including restaurants, bars, sports facilities, casinos, and event spaces. The eased restrictions begin Monday, Oct. 25.

With restrictions easing, the City of Thunder Bay said that people entering the city’s indoor recreation facilities are still required to provide proof of vaccination, which can be done with the Verify Ontario App QR Code, paper vaccination receipt, or medical exemption alongside government-issued identification. They are also required to undergo a pre-screening.

"We will work hard to get people through the doors of our recreational facilities as quickly as possible, and make sure this is being done properly and with safety in mind. We are asking for continued kindness and patience from patrons while we work though this new regulation," City Manager Norm Gale said in a news release.

Additionally, many businesses that are not subject to the proof-of-vaccination requirement will be allowed to drop capacity limits if they choose to require proof of vaccination. They include barbershops, museums, amusement parks, real estate open houses, and photography studios, amongh other places.

People will still be required to wear masks in indoor settings.

Provincial leaders said Friday that the eased restrictions are possible because of continued improvement in public health and health care indicators. A news release Friday said officials plan to "slowly and incrementally" lift all remaining requirements over the next six months, including the requirement for proof of vaccination.

The government set Nov. 15 as the date to lift capacity limits at night clubs. It tentatively plans to begin lifting other capacity limits beginning Jan. 17 as long as there are no concerning health trends.

March 28 is set as the tentative date for remaining public health and workplace safety measures to be lifted. Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health, cautioned that this is only a proposed plan.

"The months ahead will require continued vigilance, as we don’t want to cause anymore unnecessary disruption to people’s everyday lives. We must continue to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in our communities by following the public health measures in place and by vaccinating those who have not yet received their shots," Moore said in a news release.