As COVID-19 cases continue to surge throughout the province, the Ford government has announced it will require all restaurants, bars, and nightclubs to close by midnight each night as part of new measures to control the deadly virus. What’s more, all strip clubs in the province must temporarily shut down.
The provincial government made the announcement on Friday, after 409 new COVID-19 cases and one new death were reported in Ontario, the exact same number as Thursday, with Toronto alone, now accounting for half of the province’s case growth.
The government says private social gatherings continue to be a significant source of transmission in many local communities, along with outbreak clusters in restaurants, bars, and other food and drink establishments, including strip clubs, with most cases in the 20-39 age group.
To ensure the continued health and safety of Ontarians, reduce the risk of transmission, and limit future outbreaks of COVID-19, the amended order will apply province-wide effective 12:01 am on Saturday, September 26.
As a result, the province will apply additional measures and restrictions to restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments (including nightclubs) by prohibiting the sale of alcohol after 11 pm, and prohibiting the consumption of alcohol on the premises from 12 am until 9 am (including employees), and requiring establishments to close by 12 am and remain closed until 5 am except for takeout or delivery. Additionally, all strip clubs must close across the province.
Furthermore, all businesses and organizations must 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.
“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.”
This comes as Ontario’s daily COVID-19 case counts continue to hover around the 400 mark, prompting the government to cut the permitted size of indoor and outdoor private gatherings across the province, and cancel any plans to further loosen other restrictions.
What’s more, Toronto has announced that all major outdoor events have been cancelled until the end of 2020. However, many organizers are considering alternative ways to hold their events, including going online.