This Version Posted: October 26, 2021
Find out the latest COVID-19 rules, as Ontario starts to lift restrictions. Click here for a timetable of what to expect in coming months, based on COVID-19 cases staying low and other key data remaining good.
- Capacity limits and physical distancing rules are no longer in place for restaurants, bars, gyms, casinos, bingo hall, and indoor meeting and event spaces. These are all settings where patrons must provide proof of vaccination to enter. Read the specific regulations here.
- Other select businesses can see also have their capacity limits and physical distancing rules removed if they choose to require proof of vaccination for customers/patrons. The businesses that can opt in to this include: personal care services (barber shops, salons, etc.); indoor areas of museums, galleries, historical sites and other attractions; indoor areas of amusement parks, boat tours’ and indoor tour and guide services.
- Places of worship and other locations where a wedding, funeral or religious service, rite or ceremony takes place can also choose to implement proof of vaccination requirements for these types of events. In exchange, capacity limits and physical distancing rules would also be lifted.
- Capacity limits remain in place for other stores and retail settings. This will be reviewed in coming months to see if they can be lifted.
- Specific COVID-19 restrictions can still be put in place on a local/regional basis if needed.
- Social gatherings limits remain at up to 25 people indoors and up to 100 people at an outdoor gathering.
- The province has announced plans/timetable to lift remaining COVID-19 restrictions by March 2022. This will be a slow and gradual process based on COVID-19 case rates and other key health care indicators (hospital admissions, ICU cases, etc.) staying stable and low. The Ontario government’s full announcement on the timing and gradual lifting of COVID-19 restrictions is available here.
On This Page
- Proof of Vaccination Required in Certain Indoor Settings
- Specific Rules
- Vaccination Policies for Workplaces
- Additional Resources
Proof of Vaccination to be Required in Certain Settings
- Ontario requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination to attend select businesses and indoor settings. These settings include: restaurants and bars (excluding outdoor patios, as well as delivery/takeout), nightclubs, meeting/event spaces, gyms/fitness clubs, sporting events, casinos/bingo halls/gaming establishments, concerts, theatres, cinemas, and racing venues. Retail stores, grocery stores, banks and other essential businesses are not included in this new requirement.
- Proof of vaccine may also now be required in other businesses. Personal care services (barber shops, salons, etc.), indoor areas of museums, galleries, historical sites and other attractions, indoor areas of amusement parks, boat tours, and indoor tour and guide services can choose to ask customers/patrons for proof of vaccination. In exchange, capacity limits and physical distancing rules in these businesses can be lifted.
- Proof of vaccination rules may be lifted early in 2022 if the situation with COVID-19 activity in Ontario remains favourable.
Read on for more details on current COVID-19 restrictions.
Indoor and Outdoor Gatherings
- Up to 25 people are allowed at indoor social gatherings and organized public events.
- A maximum of 100 people is permitted for outdoor social gatherings and organized public events.
- Retirement homes are exempt from gathering limits.
- Stay home if sick. Do not attend any gatherings. Get tested if you have symptoms or are worried you were in contact with COVID-19. Click here for additional advice about gathering for holidays and celebrations.
- Masks must be worn at organized indoor public events. Physical distancing (staying 2 metres apart from others outside your household) is also required at organized indoor public events.
- Masks are not required to be worn at social gatherings inside private homes, but face coverings are required in common areas (hallways) in multi-unit dwellings like apartments, condominiums, etc. Wearing a mask indoors regardless of where you are can reduce the spread of COVID-19.
- Ensure you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Ask others attending the gathering what their vaccination status is, so you can take appropriate precautions such as wearing a mask and staying two metres apart from others outside your household.
- To reduce your risk of COVID-19, continue to practise physical distancing at any gathering you attend.
- COVID-19 is less likely to be spread outdoors than in, so consider meeting others outdoors. If meeting inside, open windows and doors to allow for good ventilation.
- Continue to stop the spread of COVID-19. Click here additional COVID-19 prevention measures.
more advice for gathering with others:
- Read the Public Health Agency of Canada guidance on Vaccinated Against COVID-19… What it Means to Me.
- Use the online My COVID-19 Visit Risk calculator for more direction on planning a safe visit.
Religious Services, Weddings and Funerals
- Indoor and outdoor weddings, funerals and religious services are allowed.
- Places of worship and other locations where a wedding, funeral or religious service, rite or ceremony takes place can choose to implement proof of vaccination requirements for these types of events. In exchange, capacity limits and physical distancing rules would be lifted.
- If proof of vaccination is not required, capacity at these services is limited to the number of people who can distance at least two metres.
- Masks/face coverings must be worn inside. Mask use is also recommended outdoors if you cannot stay 2 metres apart from someone outside your household
- Drive-in services, rites or ceremonies can still be offered
- Consider livestreaming services for those who are unable or do not feel comfortable attending in-person
- Receptions are permitted, with up to 25 people indoors and a maximum of 100 people outdoors.
- Click here for more information on COVID-19 prevention measures at places of worship.
Businesses and Services
- All businesses must have a COVID-19 safety plan in place that is also posted in a visible location for people to see. Click here for a sample from the Health Unit. You can also use Ontario’s Workplace Safety Plan Builder (a free interactive tool to make it easier to create and update your COVID-19 safety plan).
- Proof of vaccination is required to enter certain businesses.
- Businesses must ensure anyone entering their premise wears a mask/face covering properly (unless exempted) and stays two metres apart from others
- Cleaning and disinfecting of the business premise should be done as frequently as needed to maintain sanitary conditions.
- Capacity at essential and non-essential businesses, stores and malls remains limited to the number of people who can maintain 2 metres physical distance. The maximum number of customers must be posted in a visible location. For a handy resource to help you figure out store capacity limits, use the Retail Council of Canada’s Store Capacity Calculator.
- Capacity limits and physical distancing rules no longer apply for restaurants and bars. However, patrons/customers dining inside must provide proof of vaccination to enter. Restaurants must also continue to record the name and contact information of every customer who dines in.
- Indoor food or drink establishments where dance facilities are provided, including nightclubs and ‘restobars’, can open up to 25% capacity or a maximum of 250 people (whichever is less). Capacity limits at these venues will be reviewed by the Province and may be lifted in mid-November.
- All businesses must ensure physical distancing is in place for any customers lined up outdoors. Lineups inside are not allowed, unless the business ensures customers wear a mask and stay at least 2 metres apart from each other.
- All staff/employees must be screened for COVID-19 prior to entry. Consider using the online Employee screening tool or download a copy (PDF) from the Ontario government website.
- Signs must be posted in a prominent location, informing customers/patrons to screen themselves for COVID-19 before entering. You can also use the online screening tool designed for customers or download a copy (PDF) from the Ontario government website.
- All personal care services (like hair salons and barbershops) are open, including those that require the removal of a face covering. Click here for full details.
- Gyms and fitness clubs can reopen for indoor use, with all capacity and physical distancing limits removed. Patrons/members must provide proof of vaccination (or valid exemption) to enter. Gyms and fitness clubs must continue to record the name and contact information of every customer who enters the facility for the purpose of COVID-19 contact tracing.
- Capacity limits are removed for the following settings:
- Concert venues, theatres and cinemas.
- Spectator areas of facilities for sports and recreational fitness (would not include gyms, personal training).
- Meeting and event spaces (indoor meeting and event spaces will still need to limit capacity to the number that can maintain physical distancing).
- Horse racing tracks, car racing tracks, and other similar venues.
- Commercial film and television productions with studio audiences.
- IMPORTANT NOTE: Other public health and workplace safety measures remain in place at these venues, including wearing of masks, screening and collecting of patron information to support contact tracing. Physical distancing requirements are being removed (with limited exceptions).
Personal Care Services
- Personal care services, including those provided by hair salons and barbershops, manicure and pedicure salons, aesthetician services, piercing services, tanning salons, spas and tattoo studios, can now have their capacity limits and physical distancing rules lifted. To do this, they must require proof of vaccination for customers.
- If a personal care service does not opt for proof of vaccine, the number of customers allowed inside the business is limited to the number that can maintain 2 metres physical distance. A sign must be posted in a prominent location in the business that states the capacity limit.
- Services that require the removal of a face covering are allowed.
- Oxygen bars remain closed.
- Persons who provide personal care services in the business must wear appropriate personal protective equipment (medical masks that cover nose, mouth and chin; goggles that provide eye protection).
- Appointments are required. No walk-ins are allowed.
- Employees and customers must be actively screened for COVID-19 before they enter the premises. Use the online employee screening tool (or download a copy) and the web-based version for customers (or \download a copy). You can also put up this COVID-19 screening poster for customers.
- All personal care settings must have a COVID-19 safety plan in place that is also posted in a visible location for people to see. Click here for a sample.
- Any music played inside the business must be set at a level that allows for a normal conversation to take place.
- Capacity limits and physical distancing rules can be lifted for certain attractions if they choose to require proof of vaccination for patrons/customers. This option applies to indoor areas of museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens, rural exhibitions, festivals, fairs and similar attractions
- If these attractions do not choose to require proof of vaccination, capacity limits stay in place. Currently, indoor capacity for a seated event is limited to 50% of the usual seating capacity or 1,000 people (whichever is less). Outdoor capacity for a seated event or activity is limited to 75% of usual seating capacity of the venue, or 15,000 people (whichever is less). Outdoor capacity for an unseated event or activity is limited to 75% or 5,000 people. Reservations are required for indoor and outdoor events.
- Proof of vaccination is required in outdoor settings where the normal maximum capacity is 20,000 people or more to help keep these venues safe for patrons
Activities and Amenities
- Outdoor amenities like golf courses, tennis courts, skateboarding parks, sports fields, and basketball courts remain open with restrictions. Horse riding is also permitted, with restrictions. Anyone using these amenities must stay two metres apart from anyone outside their household.
- Curling clubs can open, with physical distancing and other requirements in place. All curlers must be actively screened for COVID-19. Masks must be worn when entering, sitting down or walking around; masks do not need to be worn when playing curling if you can maintain 2 metres distance from others (NOTE: For sweepers who play, either have one sweeper at a time or two sweepers who are masked, except if they’re from the same household).
- Indoor pools are allowed to reopen at 50% capacity, and with other restrictions in place. Outdoor pools, splash pads, spray pads, whirlpools, wading pools and water slides remain open, but with capacity limited to permit physical distancing of 2 metres.
- Short-term rentals such as cottages, cabins, and resorts remain open. Along with outdoor pools, indoor pools, communal steam rooms, saunas/whirlpools and indoor fitness centres/recreational facilities at these sites are also allowed to reopen with restrictions.
- Seasonal trailer parks can operate as usual, with no limit on how long you can stay there. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 100 people, while indoor gatherings are limited to 25 people. Outdoor pools can open (but must first be inspected by a Public Health Inspector with the Health Unit).
- Hotels, motels and shared rental accommodations remain open. Amenities like indoor pools, communal steam rooms, saunas/whirlpools and indoor fitness centres/recreational facilities at these sites are also allowed to reopen with restrictions
- Marinas can be open, including most indoor amenities. Some restrictions remain in place.
- Community centres and multi-purpose facilities can reopen with restrictions
Back to Top
Day and Overnight Camps
- Day camps and overnight camps remain open, based on guidance from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. Click here for additional guidance from Public Health Ontario for Day and Overnight Camps . You can also access the Ministry of Health’s new COVID-19 Safety Guidelines for Overnight Camps.
- The Guidance for Mental Health Resources for Camp Operators and Staff provides a list of resources on how to talk to children and youth about the COVID-19 pandemic and seek mental health supports.
Garage and yard sales are allowed, but with the following COVID-19 restrictions in place:
- Up to 100 people are allowed for outdoor sales at one time
- People should keep 2 metres apart from anyone outside their household
- It’s best to display sale items outdoors, not inside garages or other enclosed structures, as the risk of spreading COVID-19 outdoors is lower. If you decide to display items inside, no more than 25 people are allowed inside at one time (physical distancing must be maintained)
- Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer and recommend its use
- Masks must be worn inside for any sales (except if all members of the same household) and are recommended outdoors if people cannot maintain 2 metres (6 feet) physical distance from anyone outside their household
Vaccination Policies for Certain Settings
- NEW: Ontario is requiring all in-home staff, support workers, students and volunteers at long-term care homes must be vaccinated by Nov. 15, 2021, or provide a valid medical exemption.
Certain businesses will need to have a vaccination policy for high-risk settings. The vaccination policy took effect on Sept. 7, 2021 and included employees/staff, contractors, students and volunteers.
At a minimum, the policy will require individuals to provide proof of one of three things:
- Full vaccination against COVID-19;
- A medical reason for not being vaccinated against COVID-19; or
- Completion of a COVID-19 vaccination educational session.
Anyone who does not provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 will be required to undertake regular antigen testing. These settings will be required to track and report on the implementation of their policies to the provincial government. This is similar to the vaccination policy requirements currently in place for long-term care homes.
Vaccination policies apply to the following high-risk settings:
- Hospitals and home/community care service providers
- Post-secondary institutions
- Licensed retirement homes
- Women’s shelters
- Congregate group homes and day programs for adults with developmental disabilities, children’s treatment centres, and other services for children with special needs, and licensed children’s residential settings.
Even if your workplace is not covered by these requirements, local employers are encouraged to develop and implement a workplace vaccination policy to help protect their employees and the public from COVID-19.
Click on the following links for additional support:
- Ontario Regulation 364/20 – Current COVID-19 Reopening Rules
- COVID-19 Support at Work
- COVID-19 Safety Plan For Community Partners, Businesses and Service Providers – HKPR District Health Unit Resource
- Ontario’s Workplace Safety Plan Builder – Free interactive tool to create and update your COVID-19 safety plan.
- COVID-19 Screening Tool for Customers (for Use by Businesses) – Government of Ontario Resource
- COVID-19 Screening Tool for Employees/Staff – Government of Ontario Resource
- Ontario Store Capacity Calculator – Retail Council of Canada (RCC)