TORONTO – After witnessing a steady rise in the number of COVID-19 cases across Ontario, the provincial government has announced new restrictions for restaurants, bars and strip clubs.
In a Sept. 25 press release, the Ontario government stated private social gatherings are a significant source of COVID-19 transmission in many communities, along with outbreak clusters in restaurants, bars and strip clubs.
A majority of the recent cases have been in the 20 to 39 age group.
The new province-wide measures, which come into effect on Sept. 26 at 12:01am, include:
- restaurants, bars and nightclubs must stop selling alcohol at 11pm and must close by midnight (except for takeout or delivery), with no consumption of alcohol on the premises after midnight (including employees);
- closing all strip clubs across the province; and
- requiring businesses/organizations to comply with advice, recommendations, and instructions issued by public health on screening for COVID-19, including screening individuals who wish to enter their premises.
“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, Ontario’s deputy premier and minister of health.
“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.”
Officials also stated on Sept. 25 that they will work with the municipal sector and other partners to encourage increased enforcement of existing public health and workplace safety measures and restrictions at businesses, facilities and workplaces.
The province is also encouraging residents to download the COVID Alert app on their smartphones.