Ontario announces new capacity limits

Province to restrict social gatherings at restaurants, bars and retailers as Omicron spreads

Ontario announces new capacity limits

Ontario is reintroducing capacity limits at restaurants, bars and retailers, and capping indoor social gatherings at 10 people as the Omicron variant spreads across the province.

Outdoor gatherings are also being limited to 25, and food and drink consumption at sports arenas, cinemas and other large venues will be limited.

The new rules come into effect first thing Sunday morning. They do not apply to facilities hosting weddings, funerals or religious services.

Ontario’s science advisers said a ramped-up booster campaign wouldn't be enough to blunt the effects of the new COVID-19 variant.

The expert panel said the province should put ``circuit breaker'' measures in place to reduce contacts by 50 per cent and warned that without action, daily cases could rise above 10,000 by Christmas.

Omicron is thought to be four to eight times more transmissible than the Delta variant that fuelled the fourth wave of the pandemic.

The news comes a day after Quebec Premier Francois Legault announced new pandemic restrictions. Churches and other faith venues must keep at half capacity and worshippers will have to show proof of vaccination. Meanwhile, parties at work are banned along with dancing and singing karaoke inside bars, clubs and restaurants. Quebec also reversed a decision to allow larger indoor private gatherings beginning December 23.