Ontario set to ease COVID-19 restrictions Monday, source says

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The Ontario government will allow businesses such as restaurants, bars and fitness centres to start lifting COVID-19 capacity limits starting on Monday, a senior government source has told CBC News.

A patron enters a fast-food restaurant on Queen Street in Toronto, past a sign displaying proof of vaccination information on Sept. 22, 2021. A senior Ontario government told CBC News that starting Monday, Oct. 25, businesses such as bars, restaurants and fitness centres can ease their COVID-19 capacity restrictions. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

 

Ontario will allow businesses such as restaurants, bars and fitness centres to start lifting COVID-19 capacity limits starting on Monday, a government source told CBC News.

The senior government official, who was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to CBC News on condition of anonymity, said Premier Doug Ford’s cabinet approved the changes on Thursday.

The source said Ford and his ministers are making the move after Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore was satisfied there wasn’t a surge in infections after the recent holiday weekend.

“Dr.Moore said last week he wanted to see the impact of Thanksgiving,” the source said.

“With the incubation period now over and no increase in cases, we are confident we can proceed with our phased plan to safely reopen.”

Ford is expected to reveal further details of the plan at a news conference Friday. You can watch it live in this story.

Ontario has been at Step 3 of what the government calls its “Roadmap to Reopen” since mid-July. Last Wednesday, CBC News reported the province’s strategy for lifting pandemic restriction would be unveiled this week.

Ford has said the new plan will provide a long-term vision, and will involve applying any new restrictions in tailored and localized ways with the aim of avoiding further shutdowns.

Right now, fitness centres in Ontario are limited to 50 per cent capacity. At restaurants and bars, capacity is also limited to to ensure patrons of different groups maintain a distance of two metres.

The official said the plan will signal when physical distancing and capacity limits can be lifted in settings where proof of vaccination is not required, such as places of worship.

 

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