The Ontario government is strengthening public gatherings and other COVID-19 restrictions ahead of the new Omicron variant.
“Like many jurisdictions around the world, Ontario faces a significant threat from the rapidly expanding Omicron variant. The situation continues to evolve rapidly, and the simulations released yesterday clearly show that there could be serious consequences if action is not taken quickly, ”Dr. Kiran Moore, Ontario’s chief health officer, told a news conference Friday.
From December 19, 2021 at 12:01 pm, informal public gatherings will be limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
The province will also set a 50 percent capacity limit for indoor public spaces such as restaurants, bars, gyms, grocery stores, shopping malls and personal care services.
Additional measures have been introduced to prohibit the provision of food and beverages in certain public places, including sports events, concert venues, theaters and cinemas, casinos, bingo halls and other entertainment venues.
Restaurants and other meeting and event spaces can accommodate up to 10 people at one table. Visitors must also remain seated at concert venues, theaters and cinemas.
In addition to capacity restrictions, the Ontario government also sets closing hours for certain locations.
Restaurants, bars, other establishments offering food and drinks, meeting and event facilities, and strip clubs that serve food and drinks like a restaurant must close at 23:00, with the exception of take-out and delivery.
“I know this is not the kind of situation we would like to be in, especially during the holiday season, but it is clear that Omicron will not take a vacation,” Moore said. “These measures will give us time to continue to vaccinate Ontarians with booster doses that will provide an additional layer of protection from Omicron.”
Moore said more Ontarians will be able to make an appointment for a third booster dose starting Monday.
Officials did not set a date when the government could determine the actual impact of the Omicron option and re-evaluate that new isolation will no longer be necessary, despite reports that the new option is less harmful.
“I want to assure the Ontarians that we are monitoring the data very closely. We do not want to cause undue concern about this. We want everyone to stay calm, ”Moore said.
“If we find it is not dangerous, we will communicate it and maybe public health measures can be changed.”