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As Toronto begins to see a surge in COVID-19 cases, Public Health Officials are gearing up for an impending second wave. The province reported 700 new coronavirus cases on Monday -- the most in a single day since the outbreak began late January.
Premier Doug Ford told reporters that Ontario is indeed embarking on its second wave during his Monday press conference, which will be "more complicated [and] more complex" than the first.
Though no calls have been made for a return to Stage 2, Toronto Medical Officer Dr. Eileen de Villa is urging the City council to take immediate action -- namely, tightening restrictions and public health measures around restaurants and bars. Last week, the province implemented a curfew for restaurants and bars in Ontario, prohibiting the sale of alcohol beyond 11 p.m. and enforcing establishments close by 12 a.m.
These new restrictions are due in part to the cluster of outbreaks linked to restaurants and bars among young adults in the last few weeks. Here is a quick rundown of Toronto restaurants and bars that have reported COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks:
A staff member at Gusto 101 has tested positive and is currently in quarantine; the staff member last worked Saturday, September 26. The restaurant will remain closed until further notice and the entire team is required to get tested and remain in self-isolation until a clean bill of health is acquired.
Three staff members at this popular King West bar have tested positive for COVID - 19, with an exposure period from September 13 to September 22.
Crews and Tangos
Customer and drag performer, both of whom last worked on September 18, has tested positive. The popular drag bar is urging customers who visited between September 18 to September 20, get tested.
Woody's and Sailor
In a Facebook post shared on Woody's and Sailor Facebook page, the manager Dean Odorico, announced that a staff member, who last worked on September 20 and September 22 has tested positive.
Yonge Street Warehouse
A news release issued by Toronto Public Health have confirmed that seven people linked to this establishment have tested positive for COVID-19, five of which are employees and two patrons.
The Night Baker
A staff member at this College Street bakery has tested positive for COVID-19 from transmission outside of establishment. The staff member last worked at the bakery on Sunday September 20.
Though there are no confirmed cases at MARBL, King Taps or Casa Mezcal, Toronto Health officials shut down these three restaurants last week after determining that they were failing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Toronto Public Health investigations found evidence that people infected with COVID-19 were employed at more than one of these locations. Another business was seen serving food buffet style, which is prohibited under current provincial regulations to limit the spread of COVID-19. Owners of another establishment have been "frequently uncooperative" with investigators and significantly hindering investigation efforts.
Meanwhile, these two Toronto restaurants and bars have responded to the outbreaks and are taking precautionary measures into their own hands.
This popular taqueria announced on their Instagram page that they will be halting indoor dining to prevent the spread of infection. They will be resuming patio dining, takeout and delivery only.
O'Grady's on Church
Due to the outbreaks linked to The Village, O'Grady's has taken precaution and announced that they will be closed starting Monday September 28 until further notice, in order to protect their staff and guests.
The chances of another lockdown happening throughout the province -- or at least in areas seeing a significant surge of cases -- is becoming increasingly possible.
"It's plain to see that there is an immediate, rising risk in Toronto of continued and significant COVID-19 resurgence," says Dr. Eileen de Villa.
With cases surging in Quebec in recent days, the province is scaling back and tightening restrictions in an effort to slow the second wave of COVID-19. Red zones throughout the province which include, Greater Montreal, most of the Quebec City area and the entire Chaudière-Appalaches region, will be designated as red zones by midnight Wednesday -- the highest alert level, Premier François Legault announced at a press conference this afternoon.
These coronavirus epicentres are permitted to close bars, casinos, movie theatres and performance halls. Restaurants in red zones must close dining rooms and patios but can remain open for delivery and takeout orders.
In a news briefing on Monday, Dr. Eileen de Villa said she will recommend to council that it require restaurants and bars to reduce the number of patrons from 100 to 75; reduce the number of people at a table from 10 to 6; collect contact information from each patron at a table; and lower background music to the level of conversation, to prevent people from leaning in closer to each other when they speak and to ensure people do not have to speak loudly over music -- both of which increase the potential for infection to spread from one person to the next.
De Villa said she will also recommend that council extend city COVID-19 bylaws, which were set to expire this Thursday, October 1, for at least six months. That would include the bylaws mandating physical distancing in public spaces, mandatory masks in public, indoor spaces and public health measures for bars and restaurants.