Ontario Further Strengthening Response to Omicron

Published on December 17, 2021

In response to the rapidly-spreading and highly transmissible Omicron variant, the government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, is applying additional public health and workplace measures, including capacity and social gathering limits.

These measures will help curb transmission and continue to safeguard Ontario’s hospitals and ICU capacity as the province continues to rapidly accelerate its booster dose rollout.


To further strengthen its response to Omicron and reduce opportunities for close contact as the province gets as many vaccines into arms as possible, Ontario is introducing a 50 per cent capacity limit in the following indoor public settings:

  • Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments and strip clubs;
  • Personal care services;
  • Personal physical fitness trainers;
  • Retailers (including grocery stores and pharmacies);
  • Shopping malls;
  • Non-spectator areas of facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities (e.g. gyms);
  • Indoor recreational amenities;
  • Indoor clubhouses at outdoor recreational amenities;
  • Tour and guide services; and
  • Photography studios and services; and marinas and boating clubs.


To further reduce the spread of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, additional protective measures are also being applied:

  • The number of patrons permitted to sit at a table will be limited to 10 people people and patrons will be required to remain seated in restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments; meeting and event spaces; and strip clubs.
  • Bars and restaurants, meeting and event spaces and strip clubs will be required to close by 11 p.m. Take out and delivery will be permitted beyond 11 p.m.
  • Dancing will not be allowed except for workers or performers.
  • Food and/or drink services will be prohibited at sporting events; concert venues, theatres and cinemas; casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments; and horse racing tracks, car racing tracks and other similar venues.
  • The sale of alcohol will be restricted after 10 p.m. and consumption of alcohol in businesses or settings after 11 p.m.

In addition, to mitigate COVID-19 transmission that can occur at informal social gatherings, the province is also reducing social gathering limits to 10 people indoors, and to 25 people outdoors.


We need to do everything we can to slow the spread of omicron as we continue to dramatically ramp up capacity to get as many booster shots into arms as possible.


The new public health measures will come into effect on Sunday, December 19, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., and will help curb transmission and continue to safeguard Ontario’s hospitals and ICU capacity as we continue to rapidly accelerate Ontario’s booster dose rollout.


This was not an easy decision to make before the holidays, but the evidence is clear that further public health measures are required to slow the spread of Omicron and prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed.


We all have a role to play in keeping ourselves, friends, families, neighbours and communities safe this holiday season. Please follow all public measures and get vaccinated with your first, second or booster dose if you have not done so already.


Vaccine appointments can be booked online at York Public Health COVID-19 Vaccination Site or by calling 1-877-464-9675.


Download Your Enhanced Vaccine Certificate: https://covid19.ontariohealth.ca/


Holiday testing: https://www.ontario.ca/page/pop-up-holiday-schedule-rapid-antigen-tests


Medical exemptions: https://news.ontario.ca/en/backgrounder/1001329/responding-to-omicron-and-protecting-our-progress


Read more: https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/1001366/ontario-further-strengthening-response-to-omicron