In an announcement this morning by Ontario Premier Doug Ford, the province has confirmed they will be fast-tracking the lifting of health measures put in place on January 3 to combat the spread of the Omicron variant.
- Proof of vaccination requirements eliminated
- Booster shots approved for kids, 12- to 17
- Social gatherings increased to 50 people indoors, and 100 outdoors
- Capacity limits lifted for restaurants, bars and gyms, and movie theaters.
No concerts or sports?
The performing arts and sports sectors will remain under strict 50% capacity limitations. Despite their ability to follow protocols used in other industries, no reason was given to single out these sectors for ongoing restrictions.
Bathhouses, sex clubs Nightclubs and restaurants with dancing will also remain at 25% capacity limits.
Despite the disappointing news, the province stated that if transition rates continue to improve, additional steps will be taken to ease remaining health restrictions. This includes opening up concert venues to full capacity by March 1, 2022.
An Ontario without live music and sports?
Ontario’s performing arts and sports sectors now stand as one of the most heavily impacted sectors in Canada, with losses in the billions. In Ontario, concert halls have remained under full or partial closure for almost two years.
Estimates suggest that nearly all industries in the arts, entertainment and recreation sectors generated less than half of their pre-pandemic operating revenue in 2020, and only marginal improvement in 2021.
The arts are an easy target
The reason for the impact, according to the government, is due to the in-person nature of the sectors. These include closures, cancellations, rescheduling, operating restrictions, and changing consumer preferences for physically distanced, at-home and online activities.
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