Vaccine passports to end in March; more restrictions lifted Friday

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announces on Monday, Feb. 14, 2022 that the province will move to the next phase of reopening on Friday. The province will also be doing away with the vaccine certificate program in March. (YouTube/Premier of Ontario via Newswatch Group)

TORONTO – Showing proof of vaccination at various locations will be coming to an end in March.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford also announced the next phase of reopening, which will start on Friday (Feb. 17).

“Given how well Ontario has done in the Omicron wave we are able to fast track our reopening plan,” Ford said. The province noted that the Omicron peak has passed and hospitalizations and ICU admissions have been declining weekly.

The move to the next phase is roughly four days earlier than planned. The last phase of reopening was Jan. 31, 2022 and each phase lasts about three weeks (21 days).

Starting Friday, social gathering limits will be 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. Limits at public events will be 50 indoors and no limit outdoors.

The province is also removing capacity limits at bars and restaurants, gyms, cinemas, meeting and event spaces, casino and bingo halls. There will still be half-capacity limits at sports arenas, concert venues and theaters. Higher risk settings like nightclubs are capped at 25 per cent.

Weddings, funerals and religious services will be a limit based on the number of people who can maintain social distancing of two meters (six feet).

On March 1, the province will lift proof of vaccination requirements for all settings. Businesses and others will still have the option to require proof of vaccination. Masking rules will still be in place.

The rest of the capacity limits will also be lifted at the beginning of March.