Omicron variant: COVID-19 restrictions across Canada


The fast spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant has many Canadians wondering if they need to alter their plans when visiting family during the holiday season or partying on New Year’s Eve.

The federal government has already advised against international travel, while provinces and territories across the country are acting swiftly to put in place measures to slow down the spread of the virus. Many of the new rules are set to take effect days before Christmas.

Canadians who want to keep their families safe this winter may want to be aware of what the new limits shall be.

Here’s a look at those new restrictions by province and territory:

BRITISH COLUMBIA

Starting Dec. 20 and lasting until the end of January, all indoor personal gatherings are restricted to 10 guests or one additional household, and only if everyone aged 12 and up is fully vaccinated.

All organized events require use of the BC Vaccine Card and scanning of QR codes. Venues able to house 1,000 people or more are limited to 50 per cent capacity, with masking requirements and QR code scanning to be enforced. Bars and restaurants must enforce masking rules when guests are not seated.

New Year’s Eve organized events are restricted to seating-only events with no mingling or dancing allowed.

Sports tournaments are also being suspended during this time.

ALBERTA

As of Dec. 15, private indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people aged 18 and up, with no limits on the number of children. The restriction does not apply to mutual support groups or workers who need to access your home to provide caregiving support or home repairs and maintenance.

Outdoor private gatherings are limited to 20 people with two metres of physical distancing between members of different households at all times.

Further restrictions related to other types of gatherings, recreation facilities, bars and restaurants as well as retail settings can be found on the province’s website.

SASKATCHEWAN

The province’s current public health order, which has been extended to the end of January, requires masking in all indoor public spaces, as in, any enclosed place other than a private home or dwelling. Proof of vaccination or negative test requirements are in place to access establishments, businesses and event venues that bring groups of people together.

MANITOBA

Starting Dec. 21 and lasting until Jan. 11, private indoor gatherings are limited to 10 guests if everyone is fully vaccinated. If there are any unvaccinated people, the limit is five guests. Children under the age of 12 are excluded from these rules.

Bars, restaurants, gyms, movie theatres, libraries and museums will be limited to 50 per cent capacity and require proof of vaccination, with the exception of libraries. Bars and restaurants will have seated service only with a maximum of 10 people per table.

Faith-based gatherings that require proof of vaccination will be limited to 50 per cent capacity. Those that do not require vaccination will be limited to 25 per cent or 25 people, whichever is lower.

Large indoor events will be dropped to 50 per cent capacity and require proof of vaccination. Sports tournaments, indoors and outdoors, will be suspended. Games and practices will be allowed with spectator capacity reduced to 50 per cent.

ONTARIO

Starting Dec. 19, private social gatherings are limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.

Capacity limits for many indoor public settings, including bars, restaurants, retailers and shopping malls, will also be reduced to 50 per cent. The limit doesn’t apply to weddings or funerals, as well as religious services, rites or ceremonies.

Bars, restaurants and strip clubs will be required to close at 11 p.m., with the exception of take-out and delivery service. Patrons must remain seated with a maximum of 10 people per table. Dancing will not be allowed except for workers or performers. The sale of alcohol will be restricted after 10 p.m.

Food and drink services will be prohibited at sporting events and large venues, including theatres and cinemas.

QUEBEC

A maximum of 10 people or occupants from three households are able to gather inside private homes. Outdoors, on private property, a maximum of 20 people or occupants from three households are allowed to gather.

Starting Dec. 20, capacity in many public spaces, including bars, restaurants, event venues, cinemas and shopping centres are limited to 50 per cent. Dancing and participating in karaoke are forbidden.

NEW BRUNSWICK

Additional, interim measures are being added to the province’s Level 1 measures starting Dec. 18. They include limiting household contacts to a maximum of 20 people. Physical distancing is required at businesses, stores, gyms, salons and spas. Dining in restaurants is still permitted, but there must be two metres between each table and proof of vaccination is required. Entertainment centres, including professional sporting venues, cinemas and casinos are limited to 50 per cent capacity with physical distancing of two metres.

NOVA SCOTIA

Informal social gatherings are limited to household members and social groups of up to 20 people with no social distancing or masking necessary.

Formal gatherings, such as special events and festivals, run by businesses or organizations are limited to 50 per cent capacity or up to 150 people indoors and 250 people outdoors with social distancing and mask requirements.

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND

Starting Dec. 18 until Jan. 8, additional restrictions come into effect. Among these are personal gatherings of households, plus 10 people maximum, with the 10 people being kept consistent.

Restaurants, gyms, stores and event venues are limited to 50 per cent capacity and physical distancing is a requirement. Dancing and karaoke are prohibited.

NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR

Starting Dec. 20, bars are limited to 50 per cent capacity with physical distancing, while restaurants are limited to 75 per cent capacity with physical distancing. Gyms, arenas, performance spaces, cinemas and bingo halls are limited to 50 per cent capacity.

Weddings and funerals, as well as religious and cultural ceremonies, are limited to 50 per cent capacity if they use the province’s vaccine passport system and 25 per cent capacity if they do not.

No changes are being made to the rules around informal gatherings, such as those in a home, which remain limited to 25 people.

YUKON

The territory recommends holiday gatherings of up to 10 people from no more than two households.

Organized indoor gatherings, including conferences, weddings, funerals and arts and sports events are limited to 50 per cent capacity with proof of vaccination required. Bars, restaurants and nightclubs have a limit of six people per table, with proof of vaccination required, and no counter service, moving between tables or dancing permitted. Gyms and fitness studios are also operating at 50 per cent capacity with proof of vaccination required for those aged 19 and up.

Faith-based and cultural gatherings are limited to 50 per cent indoor capacity but proof of vaccination is not required under these circumstances.

Masks are mandatory in all indoor public settings, schools, vehicles with people from different households and outdoor public settings where physical distancing isn’t possible.

NORTHWEST TERRITORIES

Up to 25 people can gather in households if everyone, except children under the age of 12, is fully vaccinated. The number falls to 10 people if not everyone is fully vaccinated.

At indoor non-household gatherings, up to 25 people are permitted with physical distancing between members of different groups. Outdoors, up to 50 people can gather with physical distancing required between members of different groups.

NUNAVUT

As of Dec. 3, indoor gatherings in a home are limited to household members plus 15 people. Indoor gatherings at non-dwellings are limited to 15 people, but for the purposes of group counselling that limit is increased to 20 people. Indoor gatherings at halls, conference spaces as well as government and Inuit organization facilities are limited to 100 people or 75 per cent capacity, whichever is lower. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 100 people.

Bars and restaurants are limited to 75 per cent capacity. Theatres and places of worship are limited to 100 people or 75 per cent capacity, whichever is lower. Gyms, libraries, museums and galleries can accept 25 people or 50 per cent capacity, whichever is lower. 





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