TORONTO – Ontario’s proof of vaccination requirements could eventually be downgraded to a voluntary program, as the provincial government considers a new set of measures to lift businesses out of pandemic restrictions.
Sources with knowledge of the plan say the Ford government is working on a post-phase three strategy that would remove capacity limits on businesses where vaccine certificates are required – a plan announced next week. Will go
As part of that “phased approach” sources say the government is looking at mandatory proof of possible relaxing vaccination rules, as long as the province’s epidemic picture continues to improve.
“[We are] “Probably reaching a point where a vaccine certificate will not be mandatory,” said a source with knowledge of the plan.
While there is no deadline for implementing that phase of the plan, the source said the vaccine certificate program will still be voluntary.
Premier Ford is expected to speak this Friday on its Phase 3 exit from Ontario, a week before the implementation of provincial proof-of-vaccination QR codes.
Ontario has been in phase 3 of a “roadmap for reopening” since July. The province held off on a Phase 3 exit in August because of a surge in COVID-19 cases.
An exit from Phase 3 of the roadmap will mean that capacity limits have been raised in many settings, but details of which restrictions will be eased have not been confirmed.
Sources said indoor masking requirements will remain in place.
In an earlier statement to Granthshala News Toronto on Wednesday, the health ministry said Ontario has the lowest rate of active COVID-19 cases in the country.
“We are now able to see what public health measures we can take while maintaining our cautious approach,” a ministry spokesman said.
Granthshala News Toronto contacted Ford’s office on Wednesday night but did not receive a response.
Ontario on Wednesday reported its lowest number of new COVID-19 cases since August, recording 306 new infections.
The seven-day rolling average of the province’s daily infections continues to decline, which now stands at nearly 500, down from 565 last week.
On Saturday, Ontario lifted capacity restrictions for some large venues, including those used for concerts, sports and movies.
The Toronto Maple Leafs held their home opener in front of a full capacity crowd on Wednesday.
Speaking with CP24 on Wednesday evening, Toronto’s medical officer for health said the Leafs’ return provides a “much-needed boost” for many people in the city and that health restrictions should mean the venue remains safe.
He said there were “active discussions” going on about whether capacity restrictions could be eased in other areas.
The restaurant industry, which is still limited to a 50 percent capacity limit, expressed its disappointment with the provincial government this week as no plan was issued to ease restrictions on their businesses.