Ontario Premier Doug Ford unveiled a new proposed framework for reopening on Tuesday that will see many of the restrictions imposed on Ottawa and other COVID-19 hot spots lifted in favour of a new colour-coded system.
Ottawa and the Eastern Ontario Public Health Unit, as well as Peel and York, would move into the orange-restricted zone of the province’s new framework on Saturday, Nov. 7, when the current 28-day lockdown is set to expire. Toronto would join these regions in the orange zone a week later.
Mayor Jim Watson said in a statement Tuesday that Ford’s announcement was “welcome news” to Ottawa residents and businesses.
If the proposed framework is formalized and approved in roughly its current iteration, here’s what will be allowed in Ottawa starting this weekend.
Private gatherings such as a barbecue will be limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
Organized public events would see that limit raised to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.
Weddings, funerals or other religious services would be limited to 30 per cent of the venue capacity indoors and 100 people outdoors.
Workplaces would also be required to screen employees, and masks must be worn indoors.
Bars and restaurants would be given the green light to reopen for indoor dining, while strip clubs would remain closed.
A limit of 50 people would be applied to indoor venues, and tables would be limited to four people seated together.
Establishments must close at 10 p.m., with 9 p.m. marking last call for ordering alcohol.
Patrons must also be screened with a questionnaire and provide contact information before entering.
Face masks must be worn except when eating and drinking. Masks will also be necessary for patrons congregating outside a venue, such as in a lineup.
Buffet-style eating and karaoke would still be prohibited in this phase and music must be kept to a lower level, but some dancing and singing would be permitted.
Similar restrictions apply to meeting and event spaces.
Gyms and sports
Gyms will be limited to 50 people in the facility at a time, though pools, rinks at arenas and community centres would be exempt from this.
Recreational programs would be limited to 10 people per room indoors and 25 people outdoors.
Stays would be appointment-based and time-limited. For example, one hour per visit.
No spectators would be permitted, though exceptions are made for parents of children.
Gym-goers and athletes would be screened for the virus before entering recreational facilities.
Face coverings are required, except when exercising.
Gyms must provide at least three metres of space between patrons for exercise classes and in weight rooms.
Sports must be modified to avoid physical contact.
Contact information must be provided before entering.
Saunas, steam rooms, showers and change rooms remain closed.
Retail and malls
The government’s proposed framework includes the possibility of limiting the capacities of retail stores and malls during the winter.
Malls would be required to screen patrons with a questionnaire before entering.
Fitting rooms in clothing stores would be limited to every-other stall.
Similar to restaurants and bars, anyone in outdoor lineups would need to physically distance and wear a mask.
Cinemas, theatres and performance venues
Cinemas and indoor arts venues must abide by the same limits as indoor dining at restaurants and similar event spaces, with overall capacities limited to 50 people.
Face coverings must be worn except when eating or drinking.
Live venues can have audiences with specific restrictions, including distancing of two metres between performers, employees and between spectators. Singers and musicians who play wind or brass instruments must also be separated from crowds by plexiglass dividers.
Drive-in theatres are also permitted to operate.
Bingo halls, casinos
Bingo halls, casinos and other gaming establishments must abide by the same limits as indoor dining at restaurants and similar event spaces, with overall capacities limited to 50 people.
Table games are permitted.
These facilities can also operate according to any plan that is submitted to the chief medical officer of health for approval.