Ontario Shuts Down All Concerts and Movie Theatres

The province has put a stop to indoor dining, gyms, in-person schools and more
Ontario Shuts Down All Concerts and Movie Theatres
Photo via the Horseshoe Tavern's Facebook
More gathering restrictions have been announced in Ontario in response to the spread of the Omicron variant. Crucially for the entertainment industry, concerts and other ticketed events are no longer allowed to have an in-person audience, and movie theatres must close.

Today, the Ontario government announced new lockdown restrictions that impact a variety of indoor settings. Capacity is limited to five people for organized public events. Rehearsals and recorded performances may continue, with restrictions in place. Majors sports events (such as the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors) will continue but without an audience.

Additional restrictions include: indoor dining is no longer allowed in restaurants and bars, gyms and indoor sports facilities must close, and schools will move to remote learning for at least two weeks (until January 17). Various facilities and events must operate at 50 percent capacity, including libraries, retail stores, weddings, funerals, religious services and personal care services. Private social gatherings are limited to five people indoors or ten people outdoors.

These restrictions will begin on Wednesday (January 5) and will remain in place for at least 21 days (until January 26). See the full restrictions here.

This is a modified version of Step 2 on Ontario's restriction roadmap. An announcement on the province's website states, "Evolving data is showing that while the Omicron variant is less severe, its high transmissibility has resulted in a larger number of hospital admissions relative to ICU admissions."

Previously, concerts and other public events were allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity or with a limit of 1,000 people, whichever was lower.

In mid-December, the province's science table warned that an "immediate circuit-breaker" was needed, and that the spread of Omicron could overwhelm the province's medical system.