Loosened capacity limits took effect in Ontario Saturday at certain venues where proof of vaccination is required, including arenas, stadiums, concert halls and theatres. In Quebec, the health ministry is warning people to be aware of cellphone applications that deliberately try to mimic the look of the app used for the province’s proof-of-vaccination system.
Ontario is reporting 640 new cases of COVID-19 and a total of 10 new deaths linked to the virus. In Quebec, there are 795 new COVID-19 cases, with five more deaths related to the novel coronavirus.
Ontario says six of the deaths occurred in the past 24 hours, while four took place more than a month ago and are being added to the overall tally after a data cleanup.
Health Minister Christine Elliott says 485 of the most recent infections are among those who are either not fully vaccinated or whose immunization status is unknown.
There are currently 323 patients in Ontario hospitals due to COVID-19, with 178 in intensive care and 153 on a ventilator.
Capacity limits at outdoor events where people stand are now up to 75 per cent or 15,000 people, whichever is lower.
For outdoor events where people are seated, limits now stand at up to 75 per cent capacity or 30,000 people.
That means the Blue Jays are able to increase capacity at the Rogers Centre in Toronto to 30,000 – up from 15,000 spectators – for their push to make the playoffs.
Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore, says the capacity limits change is due to key public health measures stabilizing in recent days.
Proof of vaccination will now be required in outdoor settings where the normal capacity is 20,000 people or more.
Indoor settings like cinemas, concert venues, sporting events, banquet halls, convention centres, racing venues, and commercial film and TV productions with studio audiences now have capacity limits of up to 50 per cent or 10,000 people, whichever is less. That’s up from a previous cap of 1,000.
The changes do not apply to restaurants, which had to start asking for patrons’ proof of immunization for indoor dining on Wednesday when the provincial vaccine certificate system took effect.
Restaurants do not currently have capacity limits, as such, but must allow for distancing of two metres between tables.
Quebec’s health authorities say hospitalizations rose by three from Friday’s levels to 301, while the number of patients in intensive care dropped by one to 90.
The Health Department says of the latest reported infections, 567 were among people who were either unvaccinated or who had only received a first dose within the past two weeks.
According to the province’s public health institute, about 89 per cent of Quebecers aged 12 and older have received at least one dose, while 83 per cent are considered fully vaccinated with two shots.
The ministry issued a release Saturday saying people have copied the visual developed for the VaxiCode app and succeeded in having look-alike products approved for download on Google Play.
“As soon as the ministry was made aware of this situation, steps were taken with Google to have the bogus applications removed as soon as possible,” the ministry statement reads.
Google, for its part, confirmed the apps have since been pulled from the Play store.
The release says the situation has no effect on the integrity or security of the two official government apps, which are geared toward merchants and consumers, respectively.
The government says the official apps do not require access to a phone camera and do not contain ads. Anyone wanting to download the app should make sure to search for the exact “VaxiCode” name with no accents and no words before or after.