Ontario Premier Doug Ford puts his mask back on after speaking during a news conference at Queen’s Park in Toronto, Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021. Public health responses to protect against the Omicron variant vary across Canada, even as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the country’s two most populous provinces. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

Ontario Premier Doug Ford puts his mask back on after speaking during a news conference at Queen’s Park in Toronto, Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021. Public health responses to protect against the Omicron variant vary across Canada, even as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the country’s two most populous provinces. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

Ontario to lift most COVID-19 restrictions by March 1 but will keep masks

Some capacity rules will begin to lift as soon as Feb. 17

Canada’s most populous province will lift the majority of its COVID-19 restrictions as of March 1, the government announced Monday (Feb. 14).

Restrictions will begin to lift Thursday, increasing the number of people who gan gather socially to 50 indoors and 100 outdoors, along with removing capacity limits in places that require vaccine passports, including restaurants, bars, gyms, cinemas and casinos.

Other restrictions being lifted Thursday included allowing 50 per cent of seats to be filled at sports arena, concert venues and theatres and increasing indoor capacity limits to 25 per cent in higher risk areas that require proof of vaccination, including nightclubs and bathhouses.

Capacity limits for indoor weddings, funerals and religious ceremonies will be raised to the number of people who can remain distanced by two metres and removed altogether if a vaccine passport is used.

As of March 1, Ontario will lift vaccination requirements for all settings, although businesses can choose to impose their own rules. Public health rules that require masking will remain unchanged but a “specific timeline” to lift those requirements will also be communicated later, the province stated.

READ MORE: B.C. to reveal updated COVID pandemic response next week


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