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Capacity limits eased for select settings where proof of vaccination required, Ontario announces

Friday, September 24, 2021 @ 4:00 PM | By Amanda Jerome

On Sept. 24, the Ontario government announced that capacity limits for “select indoor and outdoor settings where proof of vaccination is required” would be “cautiously” eased due to stable public health indicators.

According to a government release, capacity limits will be increased effective Sept. 25 at 12:01 a.m.

These settings include: “meeting and event spaces, such as banquet halls and conference/convention centres; sporting events; concerts, theatres and cinemas; racing venues (e.g., horse racing); and commercial and film television productions with studio audiences will be increased to up to 50 per cent capacity or 10,000 people (whichever is less) for indoor events.”

“Thanks to the tremendous efforts of Ontarians adhering to public health measures and going out to get vaccinated, some of our key public health and health care indicators are currently stable,” said Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health, in a statement.

“Work remains however, and we must all remain vigilant and continue following the measures and advice in place, and continue to work to vaccinate as many Ontarians as possible to achieve the highest immunization rates we can, and to increase our level of community immunity and protect those who cannot receive the vaccine,” he added.

The government’s announcement noted that for “certain outdoor event venues where patrons stand, capacity limits will increase to up to 75 per cent capacity or 15,000 people (whichever is less).”

“For certain outdoor event venues where patrons are seated, capacity limits will be increased to up to 75 per cent capacity or 30,000 people (whichever is less). This is in recognition of the fact that the risk of transmission is lower because of reduced mobility around the venue. In addition, proof of vaccination will now be required in outdoor settings where the normal maximum capacity is 20,000 people or more to help keep these venues safe for patrons,” the release explained.

According to the release, the province has “one of the highest vaccination rates in the world,” which “continues to protect Ontarians against COVID-19, including the Delta variant, which remains dominant in the province.”

Ontario first announced a proof of vaccination policy on Sept. 1. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required for some services, including restaurants and bars; nightclubs; meeting and event spaces; sporting facilities and gyms; sporting events; casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments; concerts, music festivals, theatres and cinemas; strip clubs, bathhouses and sex clubs; and racing venues.

The government’s Sept. 1 announcement noted that to be fully vaccinated an individual must have two doses of COVID-19 vaccination 14 days after the last dose.

Ontarians will need to provide proof of vaccination “along with photo ID to access certain public settings and facilities.” The government noted that an “enhanced vaccine certificate, as well as a verification app to allow businesses to read the QR code, will be available beginning October 22.”

Ontario’s most recent announcement to ease capacity limits noted that “local medical officers of health have the ability to issue Section 22 orders under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, and municipalities may enact by-laws, to target specific transmission risks in the community.”

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