Ontario, Canada Removes Capacity Limits and Physical Distancing in Certain Settings

In July, Ontario entered Step Three of its Roadmap to Reopen, and on September 22, 2021, began to require full vaccination (two doses plus 14 days) with proof of vaccination and ID to access restaurants and certain public settings and facilities (i.e., vaccine passports).  As we discussed, on September 24, 2021, Ontario amended its regulations under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (Act), adding certain outdoor areas of select business premises to the list of those requiring proof of full vaccination from patrons, and increasing capacity limits for these premises. 

On October 8, 2021, Ontario published Regulation 698/21 (Regulation) under the Act, which, effective October 9, 2021, amends the Rules for Areas in Step 3 by removing capacity limits and physical distancing requirements from the following settings:

  • Meeting or event spaces, including conference centres and convention centres; (Note, however, that, the number of members of the public permitted to be in a particular room in the indoor portion of the rentable meeting or event space at any one time must be limited to the number that can maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person in the room.) 
  • Areas for spectators in facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities;
  • Concert venues, theatres and cinemas;
  • Horse and car racing tracks, and other similar venues; and
  • Places where commercial film and television production take place.

The Regulation also provides that a facility used for indoor or outdoor sports and recreational fitness activities may open, provided that:

  • In the case of an indoor facility, the total number of members of the public (other than spectators in a spectator area) permitted to be in the facility at any one time is limited to 50% capacity of those areas of the facility that are not areas for spectators; and
  • Every non-spectator in an indoor area of the facility maintains a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person in the facility (other than their caregiver or members of the person’s household), except when engaging in sports or games at the facility, or when physical distancing is not required in certain exceptional circumstances.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.