Dec 16, 2021
By Jane Brown
Much has changed in Ontario over the past 24 hours.
As the Omicron variant becomes dominant in Ontario, there is new guidance regarding international travel, COVID-19 third shot boosters, free rapid tests, and capacity in large venues.
At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Premier Doug Ford announced that Ontario residents 18 and over will be eligible to book their third shots starting Monday, as long as it’s been 3 months since a second dose of COVID vaccine.
“We’re significantly scaling up capacity to do as many as 200,000 to 300,000 shots per day based on demand,” Ford explained, “That’s about 1.5 to 2-million shots per week, (which is) a significant increase over recent capacity of about 40,000 per day.”
The premier also urged all of those 50 and over to do whatever they can to get their 3rd shot as quickly as possible, including checking at pharmacies for earlier appointments.
He announced some 2-million COVID 19 rapid tests are being given out free of charge in high traffic areas, including malls, transit hubs and select LCBO locations, up to 660 LCBO outlets in the coming weeks. This week, the take-home rapid tests will be available at the busiest LCBO stores.
And venues that seat more than a thousand people will go to 50 percent capacity starting Saturday. Ticket holders for upcoming home games for the Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs will receive more information on how this new criteria will be implemented.
At the federal level, the Trudeau Liberals have implemented a non essential travel advisory, asking Canadians not to take non essential trips outside of the country, for at least 4 weeks.
As for interprovincial travel, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos says any new guidance will be provided when needed.