Ontario hotels, convention centres, and banquet halls now allowed to have up to 50 guests per dedicated meeting or event space

Ontario government has also eased contact information collection requirements for bars, restaurants, and tour guides and services

A microphone in an empty meeting space. (Stock photo)

The Ontario government has expanded the capacity restrictions at facilities that rent out indoor professional meeting and event spaces, and has also eased the requirements for bars and restaurants to collect contact information from customers.

The previous COVID-19 public health restrictions limited to 50 the total number of people (excluding staff) who could attend an indoor meeting or event at convention centres, conference centres, banquet halls, resorts, and hotels and motels.

The limit has now been expanded to a maximum of 50 people (excluding staff) for each dedicated indoor meeting room or event space within a facility, as long as each room or event space is separated by an impermeable barrier and physical distancing of two metres can be maintained between people in the room or event space.

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The facility would also have to adhere to a plan approved by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health for the rental of meeting or event space.

Trade shows or any events requiring guests to mingle are prohibited, and buffet-style style food service is not allowed. The 100-person limit on events or meetings taking place outdoors is still in place.

The change has been welcomed by Ontario’s hospitality industry.

“We applaud the provincial government in permitting the hospitality industry to allow meetings and events on a per room or dedicated space basis,” says Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association president and CEO Tony Elenis. “This will support many operations through this challenging pandemic period.”

Facilities will also have to adhere to existing legislation and public health requirements.

The government has outlined all the requirements as well as health and safety recommendations at Guidance for professional meeting and event facilities during COVID-19.

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The government has also eased the requirements for bars and restaurants to collect contact information from customers.

As of August 21st, bars and restaurants will only need to collect contact information from a single member of a party entering indoor or outdoor dining areas.

The new requirement also applies to tour guides and services.

“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,” the government states in a media release.