Schools, indoor dining shuttered as Ontario reintroduces COVID measures

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Ontario children will move to remote learning, restaurants will not be allowed to offer indoor dining and gyms will be closed, the Doug Ford government says.

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“As part of the province’s response to the Omicron variant, starting January 5, students will pivot to remote learning with free emergency child care planned for school-aged children of health care and other eligible frontline workers,” a government statement released Monday says.

The province is being moved back into Step Two of the official Reopening Plan in response to rising Omicron cases and hospitalizations, Ford says in a statement.

Here are the changes:

Social gathering limits of five people indoors and 10 people outdoors

Capacity at organized public events limited to five people indoors

Businesses and organizations must ensure employees work remotely unless the nature of their work requires them to be on-site

Capacity limits at indoor weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites and ceremonies of 50% capacity of the particular room, outdoor services are limited to the number of people that can maintain two metres of physical distance

Retail settings, including shopping malls, permitted at 50% capacity. For 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% and other restrictions. Saunas, steam rooms, and oxygen bars closed

Closing indoor meeting and event spaces with limited exceptions but permitting outdoor spaces to remain open with restrictions

Public libraries limited to 50 per cent capacity

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Indoor dining at restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments closed, outdoor dining with restrictions, takeout, drive through and delivery is permitted.

Sale of alcohol restricted 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

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 per cent 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 per cent capacity

Boat tours permitted at 50 per cent capacity

Indoor sport and recreational fitness facilities including gyms, except for athletes training for the Olympics and Paralympics and select professional and elite amateur sport leagues, closed, while outdoor facilities are permitted to operate but with the number of spectators not to exceed 50 per cent occupancy and other requirements.

All publicly funded and private schools will move to remote learning starting Jan. 5 until at least Jan. 17, subject to public health trends and operational considerations.

School buildings would be permitted to open for child care operations, including emergency child care, 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.

During this period of remote learning, free emergency child care will be provided for school-aged children of health care and other eligible frontline workers.

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