TasteToronto | Ontario reintroduces tighter restrictions, closes indoor dining at restaurants to 'slow down' the spread of Omicron variant

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Ontario reintroduces tighter restrictions, closes indoor dining at restaurants to 'slow down' the spread of Omicron variant

Ontario reintroduces tighter restrictions, closes indoor dining at restaurants to 'slow down' the spread of Omicron variant

Ontario reintroduces tighter restrictions, closes indoor dining at restaurants to 'slow down' the spread of Omicron variant

New year, new provincial restrictions.

On Monday, Premier Doug Ford made an announcement addressing the rising case count of the Omicron variant, following a cabinet meeting a day earlier. Proving to be highly-transmissible, the number of active cases in Ontario currently peaks over 100,000, with a record breaking number of 18,445 new cases announced Saturday and 16,714 new cases as of yesterday in the province. Beginning on Wednesday, Jan. 5, the province will reintroduce a "modified step 2" approach, which will see the return of some stronger restrictions, in an attempt to slow down the spread of soaring Covid cases.

Earlier this afternoon at Queen's Park, the provincial government announced the temporary closure of indoor dining in Ontario, while outdoor dining will be permitted with certain health and safety guidelines in place.

The decision also comes after health care networks in the province reported their own battles with the highly-transmissible variant in the last couple of weeks. They're facing staffing issues due to Omicron cases surging, resulting in the infection of health-care workers, forcing them to isolate. In an interview, Kevin Smith, president and CEO of University Health Network in Toronto, says how hospitals are facing a minimum of 100 staff absences per day due to Omicron.

According to Ford, approximately 1 per cent of Omicron cases will need to be hospitalized, and given the colossal amount of cases the province has recorded in the last week, he says that the "math isn't on our side."

After reintroducing capacity limits across the province on Dec. 19, including at dining establishments, many restaurants chose to close indoor dining indefinitely due to concerns and uncertainty surrounding rising cases.

Ford's previous announcement cut indoor capacities at restaurants and live event spaces to 50 per cent, with social gathering limitations of 10 people inside and 25 people outside. These spaces, including restaurants must close by 11 p.m. for dining, but are still permitted to operate takeout and delivery past that time. Food and beverage consumption are not allowed at indoor spaces including concert venues, sports events and movie theatres.

The new restrictions will be in place for at least 21 days, until Jan. 26, and will be reevaluated. The province says that their main metric of concern is the hospitalization numbers. While Ford says that there is no stopping the new Covid variant, the reintroduction of the modified step 2 restrictions are in place to "slow down" the spread of Omicron, giving the province more time to vaccinate more Ontarians with their first, second and booster doses.

The new restrictions will also limit social gatherings down to five people indoors and 10 people outdoors. Schools will continue to be closed until at least Jan. 17, and sporting facilities, including gyms, will also be asked to shut down temporarily.

With new, time-limited restrictions to in place, it's more important than ever to remember to support local establishments at this time and do what we can individually to help stop the spread of this virus.

Tags:

Omicron

COVID-19 Restaurant Closures

Ontario reintroduces tighter restrictions, closes indoor dining at restaurants to 'slow down' the spread of Omicron variant

News

16 days ago

Ontario reintroduces tighter restrictions, closes indoor dining at restaurants to 'slow down' the spread of Omicron variant

Paolina Loseto

Paolina Loseto

Instagram

New year, new provincial restrictions.

On Monday, Premier Doug Ford made an announcement addressing the rising case count of the Omicron variant, following a cabinet meeting a day earlier. Proving to be highly-transmissible, the number of active cases in Ontario currently peaks over 100,000, with a record breaking number of 18,445 new cases announced Saturday and 16,714 new cases as of yesterday in the province. Beginning on Wednesday, Jan. 5, the province will reintroduce a "modified step 2" approach, which will see the return of some stronger restrictions, in an attempt to slow down the spread of soaring Covid cases.

Earlier this afternoon at Queen's Park, the provincial government announced the temporary closure of indoor dining in Ontario, while outdoor dining will be permitted with certain health and safety guidelines in place.

The decision also comes after health care networks in the province reported their own battles with the highly-transmissible variant in the last couple of weeks. They're facing staffing issues due to Omicron cases surging, resulting in the infection of health-care workers, forcing them to isolate. In an interview, Kevin Smith, president and CEO of University Health Network in Toronto, says how hospitals are facing a minimum of 100 staff absences per day due to Omicron.

According to Ford, approximately 1 per cent of Omicron cases will need to be hospitalized, and given the colossal amount of cases the province has recorded in the last week, he says that the "math isn't on our side."

After reintroducing capacity limits across the province on Dec. 19, including at dining establishments, many restaurants chose to close indoor dining indefinitely due to concerns and uncertainty surrounding rising cases.

Ford's previous announcement cut indoor capacities at restaurants and live event spaces to 50 per cent, with social gathering limitations of 10 people inside and 25 people outside. These spaces, including restaurants must close by 11 p.m. for dining, but are still permitted to operate takeout and delivery past that time. Food and beverage consumption are not allowed at indoor spaces including concert venues, sports events and movie theatres.

The new restrictions will be in place for at least 21 days, until Jan. 26, and will be reevaluated. The province says that their main metric of concern is the hospitalization numbers. While Ford says that there is no stopping the new Covid variant, the reintroduction of the modified step 2 restrictions are in place to "slow down" the spread of Omicron, giving the province more time to vaccinate more Ontarians with their first, second and booster doses.

The new restrictions will also limit social gatherings down to five people indoors and 10 people outdoors. Schools will continue to be closed until at least Jan. 17, and sporting facilities, including gyms, will also be asked to shut down temporarily.

With new, time-limited restrictions to in place, it's more important than ever to remember to support local establishments at this time and do what we can individually to help stop the spread of this virus.

Tags:

Omicron

COVID-19 Restaurant Closures