- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says public venues will no longer have to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination as of March 1 but said the change was a response to pandemic trends and not protests in Ottawa and elsewhere in the province.

“We are moving in this direction because it is safe to do so. Today’s announcement is not because of what’s happening in Ottawa or Windsor, but despite it,” Mr. Ford said Monday.

Mr. Ford said capacity limits will be lifted on Feb. 17 though remain capped at 50% for concert venues, sporting events and theaters. However, capacity limits will be lifted entirely on March 1.

The premier said the province will need to keep indoor masking rules in place “for just a little bit longer.”

“This is an important layer of protection that will allow us to proceed with our reopening plan safely,” he said.

Mr. Ford is easing up while Canadian officials grapple with protesters who’ve clogged the streets of Ottawa, the capital, for over two weeks.

The protest began as a demonstration against vaccine mandates on truckers but expanded into a general protest over pandemic rules, flustering Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and local officials.

Police cleared protesters from the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit over the weekend, allowing motorists and goods to flow between the countries again.

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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