Thursday, February 22, 2024

Ontario plans to increase capacity limits at indoor locations

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
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(Toronto) The Ontario government will soon announce its plan for the next phase of dismantling, which should include ending capacity limits in indoor spaces such as restaurants and fitness centers, a source said.

But the county’s chief medical officer of health hinted Thursday that the rules themselves would not be relaxed overnight.

According to a government source, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the upcoming announcement, the new dismantling plan, which will be revealed at the end of next week, will “propose dates for raising capacity limits.”

The Ontario government suspended its plans in mid-August to exit “Phase 3” of the dismantling framework, as the fourth wave of COVID-19 arrived. But today, the daily number of cases is relatively stable in Ontario, and more than 87% of eligible citizens have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Proof of vaccination is also required for access to many venues, including restaurants and cinemas, as well as sporting and cultural events.

The chief medical officer of health said he will give his advice to the government next week, but first wants to analyze the effects of the long Thanksgiving weekend, over seven to 14 days, before other public health restrictions are lifted. “We’re not going to do this all of a sudden,” said Dr. Kieran Moore. It will be slow, gradual and cautious. ”

For example, the vaccine proof system in Ontario, except perhaps for mass gatherings, will be scrapped, at least initially, Dr. Moore said. But he said that likely won’t happen until the impact of the upcoming holiday season is known.

Premier Doug Ford is expected to provide an update on the QR code and app on Friday; The government announced its entry into force on October 22 – within a week. However, Ontarians can download the app now.

A private enterprise that has run out of patience

Business associations have expressed frustration and anger since the government announced late last week that it had raised capacity limits for some places, with a vaccine being proven, but not in others.

Cinemas, theaters, performance venues, meeting spaces and sports venues have been allowed to open with 100% spectators as of last Saturday, and distancing is generally no longer required. Restaurants no longer have capacity limits as a percentage of customers, but are still limited by table space requirements.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce did not understand why capacity limits were being raised in large locations, but not in smaller businesses such as restaurants and physical packing houses.

CFIB says small business owners are wondering why members of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators are able to accommodate spectators at maximum capacity in their yard, when a bowling alley can open no more than half of its lanes.

Dr. Moore explained that experts advising the Ontario government have looked at international data that found restaurants, bars and clubs to be higher-risk places, compared to a large venue that has proper screening, good cleaning, good ventilation, and vaccine-proof verification.

Ontario reported 417 new cases of COVID-19 and three more deaths Thursday. The Ministry of Health specifies that 65% of these new cases relate to people who have not been fully vaccinated or whose vaccination status is unknown. There were 158 patients in intensive care due to COVID-19 as of Thursday, 8% of whom were fully vaccinated.

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More than 82% of eligible Ontarians have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

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