Ontario supporting the safe re-opening of more spaces at gyms and recreation centres

Province also investing $8 Million to

ensure the safe return of amateur sports


Aug.18, 2020

SIMCOE ― The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, is supporting the safe reopening of many sport, fitness and recreation facilities by applying a capacity limit on a per room basis to help more businesses reopen their doors, get more people back to work and promote the return to a healthy and active lifestyle for all Ontarians. 

The new provisions came into play beginning August 15, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., and allow these facilities to have up to 50 patrons for each indoor sport or fitness room, while ensuring physical distancing of at least two metres.

The announcement was made by Premier Doug Ford and Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries.

“Many of our gyms and fitness centres are owned and operated by small business owners and they are struggling,” said Premier Ford. “To help them get back on their feet and hire back staff, we are making these changes so they can serve more people. I continue to urge everyone to follow the strict public health protocols to ensure everyone can have a safe workout.”

The revised capacity limits are on a per room basis. They will apply to the gymnasiums, health clubs, community centres, multi-purpose facilities, arenas, exercise studios, yoga and dance studios and other fitness facilities that are able to follow the new guidance. The change was enabled by amendments to the Stage 3 regulation and a new plan and guidance document to apply a per room limit for sport and recreational fitness activities at facilities with the necessary space or layout.

“This announcement helps provide some clarity to fall and winter sports leagues and activities trying to plan programming,” said Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett, while suggesting local groups look at the information posted by the province for more details. 

Businesses, not-for-profits, and municipalities may need or choose to take more time before implementing this change in capacity limits. Facilities may also adopt their own protocols that are more restrictive than the guidance. The government will continue to work with sport and recreation organizations across the province on their safe return to sport.

Amateur sports in Ontario have been severely impacted, as measures to stop the spread of COVID‑19 cancelled competitions and closed training centres. As access to sports and recreational facilities increases, the government is investing $8 million through the Ontario Amateur Sport Fund to help the province’s sports organizations, from Alpine Ontario to WushuOntario and every sport in between, to continue to serve athletes of all levels. The funding will help them continue delivering high-quality programming and competitions to develop athletes, coaches and officials, and to promote health and wellness in communities across the province.

“The government knows it has been a difficult road for the sport and recreation sector these past several months,” said Minister MacLeod. “This funding is providing much-needed stability and support to a sector that provides services to many businesses and non-profit organizations. With these changes and investments, we will once again show the world that Ontario is the best place to play sports.”

Based on community needs, some municipalities and local medical officers of health have implemented additional restrictions or requirements, such as mandatory face coverings in commercial establishments and indoor public places. Check with your local public health unit’s or local municipality’s website for details.

Additional Resources

  • Guidance for facilities for sports and recreational fitness activities during COVID-19
  • Learn about Ontario’s Recognized Provincial Sport Organizations.
  • Review Ontario Regulation 364/20: Rules for Stage 3.
  • For more information on current return to play protocols, visit ontario.ca/page/return-to-play.
  • 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.


For more information, contact MPP Toby Barrett at 519-428-0446 or toby.barett@pc.ola.org