The Ontario government is prohibiting restaurants, bars and other food and drink businesses from selling alcohol after 11 p.m. and ordering all strip clubs to close across the province.
The order will go into effect 12:01 a.m. Saturday and will also require food and drink establishments to close by 12 a.m. and remain closed until 5 a.m., except for delivery and takeout.
Alcohol consumption will also be prohibited at all food and drink businesses across the province between 12 a.m. and 9 a.m.
“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,” Ontario health minister and deputy premier Christine Elliott said in a statement.
“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.”
Ontario will also require businesses and organizations to comply with any advice, recommendations and instructions that have been issued by Ontario’s office of the chief medical officer of health on COVID-19 screening, including screening people who are looking to enter their property.
At a press conference Friday, Elliott said the new measures are designed to address an increase in community transmission, to keep schools, post-secondary institutions and businesses open, and to protect Ontario’s most vulnerable.
“The vast majority of restaurant owners, they have been responsible,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said at the press conference.
“There have been outbreaks with staff members … and it’s precautionary. We have to be careful.”
According to Ford, some Ontario mayors were concerned about bars, restaurants, nightclubs and strip clubs.
“There’s quite a few mayors concerned, along with the local chief medical officers,” the Ontario premier said. “It’s just another step that we can put in place that will slow down the spread of COVID.”
The orders come as Ontario continues to see a high number of COVID-19 cases. On Friday, the province reported 409 new coronavirus cases. In five of the last seven days, the province has reported cases in the 400s.
The Ontario government said private social gatherings are a “significant source” of COVID-19 transmission in many communities across the province, in addition to outbreak clusters at restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments.
The province said its chief medical health officer and other health experts are monitoring the COVID-19 situation to see if public health measures need to be tightened.
On Tuesday, the government began releasing details of its second wave COVID-19 plan.
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