‘Anti-vaxxers can simply wait it out’: Ontario's reduction of COVID-19 limits confuses medical experts

·4 min read

The Ontario government announced that on Monday, Oct. 25, capacity limits and distancing rules will be lifted in the majority of settings where proof of vaccination is required.

These settings include:

  • Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments

  • Indoor areas of sports and recreational facilities such as gyms and where personal physical fitness trainers provide instruction

  • Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments

  • Indoor meeting and event spaces

Additional businesses and services can lift capacity limits and physical distancing requirements, if they choose to require proof of vaccination by patrons, these include:

  • Personal care services (e.g., barber shops, salons, body art)

  • Indoor areas of museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions

  • Indoor areas of amusement parks

  • Indoor areas of fairs, rural exhibitions, festivals

  • Indoor tour and guide services

  • Boat tours

  • Indoor areas of marinas and boating clubs

  • Indoor clubhouses at outdoor recreational amenities

  • Open house events provided by real estate agencies

  • Indoor areas of photography studios and services

Additionally, the provincial government plans to lift capacity limits in others settings where proof of vaccination is required, including night clubs, wedding receptions in meeting/event spaces where there is dancing, strip clubs, bathhouses and sex clubs, in November.

What COVID-19 restrictions will be in place in Ontario in 2022?

On Jan. 17, 2022, "in the absence of concerning trends in public health and health care following the winter holiday months and after students returned to in-class learning," the provincial government intends to lift the proof of vaccination requirement for restaurants, bars, settings used for sports and recreational facilities and casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments.

This would extend to additional businesses in February next year.

As we get into the colder months this virus does want to spread, as the humidity inside goes down the virus wants to spread. It’s a call for more people to be immunized.Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health

"The good date that we’ve set, which I think is absolutely appropriate, is January 17th to review the data. That will give us an opportunity to review the preceding two months of potential activity within Ontario."

In March, the Ontario government plans to remove the masking requirement in indoor public spaces and proof of vaccination could be lifted for all remaining settings, including meeting and event spaces, sporting events, concerts, theatres and cinemas, racing venues and commercial and film productions with studio audiences.

"By March we hope we've maximized our immunization strategy in Ontario…to the point that this virus doesn't have a host in which it can reproduce," Dr. Moore said. "Then we will have to learn to live with this virus."

"Sadly some will acquire immunity naturally but our goal is to continue to maximize our immunization strategy during this time."

Canadian medical experts question timeline

People in Ontario, including health experts, took to social media to comment on the provincial government's announcement.

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