Here we go again! Premier Doug Ford has announced new restrictions that will go into effect for at least 21 days starting at 12:01 a.m. this Wednesday, January 5th. The premier described the new measures as “targeted and time-limited” to help curb the soaring cases in the province.
As of Wednesday, all bars and restaurants must close their indoor dining rooms and switch to takeout and delivery only. Patios are still allowed, but given how frigid it is out there, dining al fresco doesn’t seem too appealing right now.
Indoor sports and recreation facilities, including gyms and yoga studios, are also closed with exceptions for select training purposes and for certain professional sports leagues.
Theatres and concert venues, as well as indoor attractions like museums, galleries, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens, amusement parks, fairs, and festivals will also close. Outdoor areas can stay open at 50% capacity.
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Gathering limits, which were recently reduced to 10 people indoors, are now limited to five people indoors and 10 people outdoors.
However, some indoor businesses are allowed to stay open for the time being with a 50% capacity limit, including salons, personal care services, public libraries, and retail stores.
In Monday’s statement, officials said evolving data shows that while Omicron cases are milder than previous variants, they are highly contagious and will continue to spread rapidly in the coming weeks.
“We face a tsunami of new cases in the days and weeks ahead,” said Ford, adding that if actions aren’t taken now, it could lead to catastrophic consequences.
The province also announced that schools will remain closed for in-person learning until January 17th at the earliest.
This comes as Ontario ramps up its rollout of booster doses, calling on the public to volunteer to help run the clinics, as well as train more frontline workers and healthcare professionals to administer shots.