All Ontarians 18+ eligible for COVID booster, capacity limits return to stadiums concert venues, casinos

Premier Ford announces new measures in wake of Omicron variant

With the rapidly spreading Omicron variant flaring up across the province, the Ford government is moving forward with the eligibility in which Ontario adults can get a COVID-19 booster shot.

Anyone 18 and older in the province will be eligible for a third jab beginning on Monday, Dec. 20, provided it has been three months after their second dose. People can sign up using Ontario’s booking portal, by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre, through Indigenous-led vaccination clinics, participating pharmacies, and primary care settings.

This is two weeks ahead of what was announced on Dec. 10.

At that time, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore said eligibility for the third dose for adults 18 and older would begin on Jan. 4.

The government expanded booster shot eligibility to residents 50 and older on Monday.

The province is also launching a holiday testing blitz with free rapid antigen tests available as of Wednesday at pop-up sites, including malls and libraries, as well as some LCBO stores.  

The province is also working to ramp up capacity again.

On Tuesday, Ontario administered 127,000 doses of vaccine, and Premier Doug Ford said at Wednesday’s news conference that the province hopes to have the capacity to administer 200,000 to 300,000 doses per day by next week.

As well, if you have tickets to a sporting event or concert, things are changing.

Ford also announced that effective Saturday, Dec. 18 at 12:01 a.m., any venue with a capacity of 1,000 or more will be capped at 50 percent. He said this includes stadiums concert venues and large event spaces, as well as theatres, cinemas, racing venues, museums, zoos, galleries, science centres, casinos, bingo halls, festivals, among others.

“I know this will be tough, but it’s an important step in ensuring we slow the spread of Omicron as we urgently accelerate boosters because, as I said earlier, it’s all hands on deck,” Ford said.

“This is a call to arms. And now more than ever, we need everyone to be doing their part.”