ONTARIO EXPANDS INDOOR CAPACITY FOR MEETING AND EVENT FACILITIESPublished on August 24, 2020
The Ontario government is safely reopening more of the economy by easing restrictions for facilities that rent out professional meeting and event spaces. Beginning August 21, 2020, facilities can have up to 50 guests for each indoor meeting room or event space within the facility. The facility would have to adhere to a plan approved by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
"As the province gradually and safely reopens, our government is continuing to promote a safe approach to reopening businesses to boost Ontario's economic and social recovery," said Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries. "Allowing for multiple meetings or events will allow convention centres, hotels and other professional meeting facilities to welcome back more visitors and employees."
The current indoor gathering limit will now apply on a per meeting room or event space basis at professional meeting and event facilities, including convention centres, hotels, motels, resorts, banquet halls and conference centres. Outdoor meeting and event facilities remain subject to the 100-person gathering limit for the entire outdoor area. Capacity limits exclude employees or event personnel. Safely allowing these facilities to host more meetings and events is an important step in Ontario's economic recovery.
To operate and expand indoor capacity safely during Stage 3 of Ontario's Framework for Reopening Our Province, convention centres, hoteliers and other associations have helped inform the development of a guidance document, which is the plan approved by the OCMOH. These measures ensure public safety based on public health requirements, operational best practices and industry guidelines prepared by the sector.
In addition, new regulatory amendments have come into force requiring contact information for only one person in a party entering indoor or outdoor dining areas starting today, with exceptions. This will reduce the administrative burden on businesses such as restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments, and tour and guide services, while continuing to support case and contact tracing.
Businesses not able to open or resume full activities due to Stage 3 restrictions, or businesses that have ideas to safely amend Stage 3 restrictions or requirements, can visit Ontario.ca/reopen to submit a reopening proposal. Government and public health officials will review proposals and contact businesses for feedback or clarifications. Proposals may inform the potential loosening of restrictions as Stage 3 progresses.
- Guidance for professional meeting and event facilities during COVID-19
- Learn more about Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19.
- Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.
“As an essential service during this global pandemic, the hotel industry has safely provided accommodation for health care workers, first responders and others on the frontline who required a safe, controlled environment to stay while serving their community. Providing more meeting and event spaces for individuals and businesses will support Ontario’s hotel sector and help drive economic recovery.”
Terry Mundell, President & CEO of the Greater Toronto Hotel Association,
“We applaud the provincial government in permitting the hospitality industry to allow meetings and events on a per room or dedicated space basis. This will support many operations through this challenging pandemic period.”
“The health and safety of our customers, visitors and staff remains our highest priority, and we are ready to welcome them back slowly, surely and safely. As the largest convention centre in Canada, our facility generates well over half a billion dollars in economic impact annually to the city and province. We are excited to move onward; to welcome guests into our safe facility this fall and continue with our strong calendar of events in 2021.”
“We are happy that the province is demonstrating its understanding of the importance of the meetings and events sector to the economy by allowing us to re-open in a manner that will allow us to host more meetings and events while ensuring everyone remains safe.”
“We are happy that the Province is evolving the meeting criteria in a responsible way; the industry is ready to host meetings in a safe manner.”
A. Douglas Birrell