Jan 30, 2022

By Steve Kee

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Restaurants, gyms, cinemas and many other businesses in Ontario are set to open their doors again tomorrow to welcome back fully vaccinated patrons.

Starting Monday, provincial restrictions will permit some recreational programs and facilities to reopen with public health requirements and capacity restrictions of 50 per cent in place, including:

•       Community recreation centres and arenas
•       Fitness centres and classes, weight rooms and walking tracks
•       Enhanced Youth Spaces and Youth Lounges
•       Indoor pools for lane and leisure swim and Aquafit
•       Older adult centres
•       Indoor leisure skate
•       Arts, general interest and sports drop-in programs
•       Bookings for arenas, gyms, meeting and event spaces

Proof of vaccination will continue to be required for those age 12 and older entering indoor sports and recreational facilities for the purpose of participating these events.  Enhanced vaccine certificates with QR codes are the only acceptable form of proof of vaccination.

Active health screening prior to entry will continue at community centres.

But some are questioning if “fully vaccinated” should be redefined as three doses instead of two.

Ontario’s science table has said two doses have about 35 per cent effectiveness against Omicron, while three doses can offer 75 per cent protection in the first month.

Infectious disease doctors Gerald Evans and Andrew Morris say the extra dose is important.

Morris says since booster shots didn’t start becoming widely available until late December, it may make sense to announce that a third dose would be mandatory for the vaccine certificate system at some later date.

But Premier Doug Ford has said he’s not considering that right now.

Both N-D-P Leader Andrea Horwath and Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca have called for vaccine certificates to require third doses.

But Doctor Sumon Chakrabarti, an infectious diseases doctor, disagrees, saying three doses is most beneficial for immunocompromised people and those over 60, while everyone else is still well protected against severe disease from two doses.

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