Province Releases New Public Health Measures to Stop COVID Spread

Concerns about the consistent increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases in Ontario has prompted the Provincial government to impose some new restrictions aimed at trying to get the new case count down to something more reasonable. Cancel all your late night plans, and any planned outing to a gentlemen’s club, the Government of Ontario has got some new rules for you.

“Last week our government took immediate action to respond to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases, by setting new limits for certain social gatherings and organized public events across Ontario,” said Minister of Health Christine Elliott in a statement. “As the number of cases have continued to rise, it is evident that despite the tremendous efforts of Ontarians further action is required to prevent the spread of the virus.”

Effective at 12:01 am on Saturday, restaurants, bars, and other places that serve food and drink like nightclubs, will be prohibited from selling alcohol starting at 11 pm, and will be required to close for business at midnight; the only exception will be for takeout and delivery orders. At the same time, the province’s strip bars and gentlemen’s clubs will be required to close entirely.

According to the Public Health Ontario’s data, 67 per cent of the new cases of COVID-19 for the week ending September 19 were from people under the age of 40. On Friday alone, 65 per cent of the new cases were from people under the age of 40, and about half of all new cases were from Toronto. In recent weeks, Toronto Public Health has notified people at two Toronto clubs, Club Paradise on September 13 and NOIR in the REBEL Entertainment Complex on September 11, that they might have been exposed to COVID-19 while on the premises.

It was only a week ago that the Provincial government imposed new restrictions on unmonitored and private social gatherings; limits on indoor gatherings were rolled back to 10 people from 50, and the limit on outdoor gatherings were rolled back to 25 people from 100. Initially, the orders were restricted to Toronto, Peel Region, and Ottawa the three locations that, when combined, have seen the vast majority of the new cases provincially.

“On the advice of Ontario’s public health officials, we are moving forward with these measures to help keep Ontarians safe by limiting the potential for exposure in locations where the current risk of transmission is higher, and to avoid future lockdowns,” Elliott added. “Protecting the health and wellbeing of Ontarians will always remain our top priority.”

On Thursday, nearly 40 physicians, doctors, and infectious disease researchers signed a statement on behalf of the Ontario Hospital Association that asked the Province to put restrictions in place to limit social gatherings at non-essential businesses like restaurants, bars, nightclubs, entertainment venues, and places of worship.

“The province must also ask non-essential businesses to have employees work from home and instruct universities and colleges to offer classes online, wherever possible,” the statement said. “Now is not the time for hesitancy. We must regain a firm grip on the virus to ensure those who are most susceptible in our province stay protected.”

Photo Credit: Image posted to Facebook from the Downtown Dining District in July of people not physically distancing in front of Frank and Stein’s.

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