Ford government mulling over further loosening of COVID restrictions: Report

Easing of restrictions would cover all locations where proof-of-vaccination is required

Lifting capacity limits at gyms and restaurants are expected to be announced soon, possibly as early as Friday, according to the Toronto Star.

The easing of restrictions would cover all locations where proof-of-vaccination is required.

Sources at Queen’s Park say exiting from Step 3 will be considered by cabinet ministers this week, and the plan could be implemented next Monday.

Premier Ford has been under fire, especially from restaurant owners, after the government lifted capacity limits for sports and concert venues, cinemas and theatres, but kept them in place for bars, restaurants, and gyms.

Sources say there are several reasons why the government believes now is the time for another ramping down of restrictions including the fact there has not been a major spike in COVID-19 cases despite a return to in-person learning at schools.

Other factors are the limited transmission of the virus where Ontario’s vaccine certificate system has been in place and the uptick in the vaccination rate.

Numbers from the province on Wednesday showed 87 per cent of eligible Ontarians have received one dose of vaccine and 83 per cent are double-dosed.

The province reported 306 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, the lowest daily count since early August.

An official told the CBC the plan will include guidance about travel and more specifics about when the province’s proof-of vaccination program will shift from mandatory to voluntary.

As well, the official said the plan will lay out conditions that would allow the province to reimpose restrictions, on a local basis, should there be a significant spike in new infections.