Restaurants, gyms to reopen at 50% capacity on Jan. 31: sources

Restaurants, gyms and movie theaters will reopen at 50 per cent capacity on Jan. 31, sources tell CHCH News.

Premier Doug Ford is expected to announce a reopening plan on Thursday that will reduce the COVID-19 restrictions that were imposed earlier this month.

Sources say the government is hoping to eliminate all capacity restrictions for restaurants, gyms, theatres and sports venues by mid-March.

Essential businesses like grocery stores and pharmacies could have capacity limits lifted as early as this weekend.

RELATED STORY: Premier Ford hints at reopening plan while federal government says omicron surge isn’t over

Back on Jan. 3, the government announced that, due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant driving up COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations, restrictions would be placed on certain businesses until at least Jan. 26.

Restaurants were ordered to close indoor dining areas, museums, zoos and other such attractions were shut down as well as gyms and indoor recreation facilities. Social gatherings were limited to five people indoors and 10 people outdoors and retail settings, including malls, were reduced to 50 per cent capacity.

At the time of the announcement, the province said restrictions would remain in effect for at least 21 days, subject to trends in public health and health system indicators.

Health Minister Christine Elliott spoke at a news conference earlier this week and said the province was seeing “glimmers of hope” in the fight against the Omicron variant.

She said COVID-19 cases are expected to peak this month and hospitalizations and ICU admissions will follow.

Ford will hold a news conference at 11:30 a.m. alongside Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health.