TORONTO -- Stricter public health measures are once again in effect in Ontario as of today, with capacity limits back in place in restaurants and a smaller cap on social gatherings.

Premier Doug Ford announced the new restrictions on Friday, saying the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is so contagious it threatens to overwhelm the health-care system.

Restaurants, gyms and many other indoor settings now have a 50 per cent capacity limit.

No more than 10 people can attend indoor social gatherings -- down from 25 -- and there's a maximum of 25 attendees at outdoor social gatherings, down from 100.

And cinemas, arenas and other large venues are no longer allowed to serve food or drinks.

The measures come as cases have been rising rapidly, with the seven-day average of new daily diagnoses sitting at 2,156 Saturday, compared to 1,194 a week earlier.

The province has also ramped up its COVID-19 vaccine booster campaign, and is due to expand eligibility to all adults starting Monday, provided it's been at least three months since they received their second dose.

Ford says the public health measures are meant to prevent the spread while people are getting their boosters and the shots are kicking in.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 19, 2021.