Ontario Temporarily Moving to Modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen

Published on January 04, 2022

The government has never hesitated to do what is necessary to protect the health and safety of Ontarians.


Which is why in response to recent trends that show an alarming increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, the government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health have made the decision to return to the modified version of Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen, effective Wednesday, January 5, 2022 at 12:01 a.m. for at least 21 days (until January 26, 2022), subject to trends in public health and health system indicators.


Unlike other variants throughout the pandemic, evolving data is showing that while the Omicron variant is less severe, its high transmissibility has resulted in a larger number of short-term hospital admissions but not increased ICU admissions.


Ontario must take action to protect the province’s hospital capacity from becoming overwhelmed by taking further action to curb transmission.


The province will also reinstate Directive 2 for hospitals and regulated health professionals, instructing hospitals and regulated health professionals to pause all non-emergent and non-urgent surgeries and procedures in order to preserve critical care and human resource capacity.


As part of the province’s response to the Omicron variant, students will pivot to remote learning with free emergency child care planned for school-aged children of healthcare and other eligible frontline workers.


Getting vaccinated and adhering to public health and workplace safety measures will continue to protect us and our loved ones against COVID and variants.


Together, we will win the fight against COVID-19



Why is it necessary the Ontario Government implement these measures in Newmarket-Aurora?


The Omicron variant is likely to result in more short-term hospital admissions and its high transmissibility is leading to a rapid rise of Omicron cases that could result in the province’s hospital capacity becoming overwhelmed if further action isn’t taken to curb transmission.


Between December 15 and December 30, the province saw a 533 per cent increase in hospitalizations driven by Omicron.


Based on data, experience and stakeholder feedback, it is anticipated hospital admissions, rather than ICU occupancy, will drive health care capacity challenges, and exponential growth is now being observed.


Although a lower hospitalization rate of Omicron compared with Delta is expected, the higher number of cases will result in more short-term hospital admissions and overtake hospital capacity.


Even if only 1% of cases are hospitalized (it was 4% in past pandemic waves), the health care system is likely to become overwhelmed in the near future.


This increase may be blunted with the application of additional public health and workplace safety measures.


In response, the government is implementing additional public health and workplace safety measures like those implemented in Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen (modified Step Two).



Exactly what measures will be taken in a modified stage 2?




  • Reducing social gathering limits to five people indoors, and 10 people outdoors.
  • Limiting capacity at organized public events to five people indoors.




  • Requiring businesses and organizations to ensure employees work remotely unless the nature of their work requires them to be on-site.
  • Limiting capacity at indoor weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites and ceremonies limited to 50 per cent capacity of the particular room. 
    • Outdoor services are limited to the number of people that can maintain 2 metres of physical distance. Social gatherings associated with these services must adhere to the social gathering limits.
  • Retail settings, including shopping malls, permitted at 50 per cent 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 per cent capacity.
  • Closing indoor meeting and event spaces with limited exceptions but permitting outdoor spaces to remain open with restrictions.




  • Closing indoor dining at restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments. Outdoor dining with restrictions, takeout, drive through and delivery is permitted.
  • Restricting the sale of alcohol 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.




  • Closing indoor concert venues, theatres, cinemas, 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. Outdoor establishments permitted to open with restrictions and with spectator occupancy, where applicable, limited to 50 per cent capacity.
  • Closing indoor horse racing tracks, car racing tracks and other similar venues. Outdoor establishments permitted to open with restrictions and with spectator occupancy limited to 50 per cent capacity. Boat tours permitted at 50 percent capacity.
  • Closing indoor sport and recreational fitness facilities including gyms, except for athletes training for Olympics and select professional and elite amateur sport leagues. Outdoor facilities are permitted to operate but with the number of spectators not to exceed 50 per cent occupancy and other requirements.
  • Maintaining capacity limits for personal care services at 50 percent capacity. Saunas, steam rooms, and oxygen bars closed.




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



Learn More: https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/1001394/ontario-temporarily-moving-to-modified-step-two-of-the-roadmap-to-reopen