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23 February 20223 minute read

Ontario moves to next phase of reopening, lifting more restrictions

In response to the improving COVID-19 climate, on February 17, 2022, the Ontario Government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, moved to the next phase of its plan to reopen the province, easing a number of restrictions related to capacity limits. The Government of Ontario made this decision in light of improving public health and health system indicators, such as decreased positivity rates and a decline in admissions to hospitals and ICUs.

This move comes ahead of the Government of Ontario’s plan to lift proof of vaccination requirements in many public facing businesses, as well as the plan to lift all remaining capacity limits for indoor public settings on March 1, 2022. The Government of Ontario will allow businesses and other settings to choose to continue to require proof of vaccination. Additionally, masking requirements will remain in place with no current date of when this requirement will be lifted.

As of February 17, 2022, the changes to COVID-19 related restrictions include:

  • Increased social gatherings limits to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors
  • Increased organized public event limits to 50 people indoors, with no limit outdoors
  • Removed capacity limits in the following indoor public settings where proof of vaccination is required, including but not limited to:
    • Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments without dance facilities;
    • Non-spectator areas of sports and recreational fitness facilities, including gyms;
    • Cinemas;
    • Meeting and event spaces, including conference centres or convention centres;
    • Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments, and
    • Indoor areas of settings that choose to opt-in to proof of vaccination requirements
  • Allowing 50 percent of the usual seating capacity at sports arenas
  • Allowing 50 percent of the usual seating capacity for concert venues and theatres
  • Increasing indoor capacity limits to 25 percent in the remaining higher-risk settings where proof of vaccination is required, including nightclubs, restaurants where there is dancing, bathhouses and sex clubs
  • Increased capacity limits for indoor weddings, funerals or religious services, rites, or ceremonies to the number of people who can maintain two metres of physical distance. Capacity limits are removed if the location opts in to use proof of vaccination or if the service, rite, or ceremony is occurring outdoors

The use of the enhanced vaccine certificate with a QR Code and the Verify Ontario app continues to be required until at least March 1, 2022, in settings where proof of vaccination is required.

For further information and assistance navigating the requirements of a post-pandemic world, please consult our Coronavirus Resource Centre or contact any of the members of the DLA Piper Canadian Employment and Labour Law Service Group listed here.


This article provides only general information about legal issues and developments, and is not intended to provide specific legal advice. Please see our disclaimer for more details.