Beginning Sunday, Dec. 19, indoor city facilities will be operating at 50 per cent capacity to reduce transmission of the rapidly spreading and highly transmissible Omicron variant. 

To reduce the opportunity for close contact and allow as many people as possible to get vaccines, effective 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, Dec 19 the province introduced a 50 per cent capacity limit for indoor public settings including restaurants, bars, personal care services, grocery stores, concert venues, theatres, meeting and event spaces, shopping malls, indoor sport and recreational facilities, and gyms. These capacity limits do not apply to wedding, funeral, or religious services, rites, or ceremonies. 

“Today’s news from Premier Ford echoes the calls that have been made by many in the medical and scientific community – the Omicron variant spreads extremely rapidly and we must all take steps now in order to stay ahead of the high number of cases expected in the coming weeks,” said Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. “As difficult as today’s news from the province is, I applaud the provincial government for taking this critical step to minimize potential exposure by reducing interactions, in order to protect both us and our healthcare system, which is strained and exhausted from the past 21 months of the pandemic.” 

Capacity limits at city facilities 

Beginning Sunday, Dec. 19, all Kitchener community centres, recreation centres, pools, and arenas will be open at 50 per cent capacity. Registered city programs including swimming, public skating will continue within required capacity limits. Patrons are being asked to “check before you rec” and to visit the city website for details on screening and vaccine proof requirements

The Kitchener Market and food hall will remain open at 50 per cent capacity. Patrons must remain seated at all times with limited exceptions.  

The Aud also remains open at 50 per cent capacity but food and beverage services will be suspended until further notice. 

Proof of vaccine requirements 

Beginning Dec. 20, proof of vaccination and valid government ID is required for youth participating in sport aged 12 to 17 years entering city recreation facilities. Everyone 12 and older entering a city recreation facility will be required to: 

  • show proof of vaccination or medical exemption (Provincial QR code required as of Jan. 4, 2022) 

  • show government identification (a picture or legible photocopy is acceptable) 

  • complete the COVID-19 health screening 

  • complete the contact tracing  

These requirements are already in place for volunteers, parents and spectators (12 and older). 

In addition, to mitigate COVID-19 transmission that can occur at informal social gatherings, the province has reduced social gathering limits to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors beginning Sunday, Dec. 19. 

“We’re all tired. I know none of us wanted to hear this news during this time of year as we were all hopeful for a very different ending to 2021 and start to 2022,” added Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. “But the holiday season is filled with gratitude, hope and love and I know we will make the adjustments we need to make, support each other, and find ways to celebrate safely so that we are able to put this potential tsunami of cases resulting from the Omicron variant in our rear-view mirror as well.” 

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For more information please contact: 

Bethany Rowland 
Director, Corporate Communications and Marketing