Ford announces plans to relax COVID-19 restrictions in Ontario

Premier of Ontario, Dougford, has announced plans to phase out COVID-19 restrictions in the state from 31 January. This is due to the low positive test rate and stable health care workers.

Pandemics still pose challenges to the healthcare system, but these challenges are now manageable for hospitals, the Prime Minister said. During a press conference On January 20, Health Minister Christine Elliott and Dr. Kieran Moore, the Ontario Medical Officer, accompanied.

“We can be confident in our ability to care for people and provide hospital beds to those in need, and at worst because we aim to carefully relax public health measures. I can be confident that things are behind us, “Ford said.

The state said it plans to resume with a phased approach, with 21 days between each phase.

In the first step, Ontario restaurants, bars, gyms, and other businesses will return to 50% capacity from 12:01 am on January 31st. The social gathering limit will also be increased to 10 indoors and 25 outdoors. The spectator area of ​​major facilities such as sporting events and concerts can be reopened with a capacity of 50%, or 500 people.

If the infection trend stabilizes or improves, Ontario will take the next step on February 21st. At this stage, the social gathering will increase to 25 indoors and 100 outdoors, but the capacity limit will be lifted in public indoor environments. Vaccination proof is still needed.

The final stage is scheduled to take effect on March 14. The state will lift all capacity restrictions on indoor public facilities, but existing facilities will retain vaccine passports. The social gathering at this stage is limited to 50 people indoors, not outdoors.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said the state is seeing some positive signs that it is approaching the “peak of the Omicron wave.”

“When we start seeing some hopeful signs and begin to mitigate our measures, I want to remind the Ontario people how grateful they are for the sacrifice to keep each other safe. I think, “said Elliott.

“For our healthcare professionals, pharmacists, and other essential workers … we can’t fully emphasize how much we care for you.”

In October 2021, the government announced plans to lift all COVID-19 restrictions, including masking requirements and vaccination certification, by March 2022.

When asked at a press conference why the latest phased resumption plan maintains masking and vaccine passport requirements, Ford said the new Omicron variant “changed the game,” but Ontario is now. Hospitalization rates have declined, adding that they are seeing a “positive trend” in which infection rates have declined.

“We haven’t left the forest yet, but we’re taking a cautious approach to moving forward, and we’re confident that we’ll move forward carefully and get things back to normal as soon as possible.” Said Ford.

On January 20, Ontario continued to reduce the number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 from 4,132 to 4,061.

Andrew Chen


Andrew Chen is a Toronto-based Epoch Times reporter.