The province just announced that it has amended its reopening act rules to allow for a tightening of restrictions on bars and restaurants across Ontario, as well as the temporary closure of all strip clubs.
Citing an increase in COVID-19 cases over the past five weeks, the province says new cases appear to be coming from private social gatherings (hence the lowering of gathering limits from 50 people to 10 in indoor spaces and 100 people to 25 in outdoor spaces), as well as “outbreak clusters” in restaurants, bars, and strip clubs.
Starting on Saturday, Sept. 26, the province will impose new restrictions on all food and drink establishments by prohibiting the sale of alcohol after 11:00 pm and prohibiting the consumption of alcohol on the premises between 12:00 am and 9:00 am (including amongst employees). The province will also require all establishments to close by 12:00 am and remain closed until 5:00 am (except for takeout or delivery).
The province says it will also close all strip clubs across Ontario, a decision made following two known outbreaks at Toronto strip clubs, one of which exposed up to 500 people to the virus.
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The province says it will also require businesses and organizations to comply with any advice, recommendations, and instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health on screening for COVID-19, including screening individuals who wish to enter their premises.
“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. 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,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, in a statement.
“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. Protecting the health and wellbeing of Ontarians will always remain our top priority.”
The province says it will work with municipalities and other partners to encourage increased enforcement of rules at all businesses, facilities, and workplaces.