OTTAWA — Canada’s deputy public health chief says going inside a bar to have a drink with friends remains a high-risk activity in the era of COVID-19.
Dr. Howard Njoo’s reminder comes days before Ontario will allow indoor dining and drinking at restaurants and bars in much of the province.
Ontario’s decision, which takes effect Friday, comes against the protests of parents who fear it will lead to a second wave of COVID-19 that will keep schools from reopening in September.
Njoo would not link school reopenings to the risks in reopening bars but says young people often congregate in bars for long periods of time in close proximity and any indoor space is a higher risk for transmission than outside.
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That has proven to be true in Quebec, which is now enforcing a provincewide mask order indoors and rolling back bar hours and patron limits after more than 30 cases were linked to nine bars in Montreal in recent days.
Ford says the decision to let bars and restaurants open for indoor use is a necessary economic move to save thousands of small, family-owned businesses from going belly-up.