Additional measures needed for indoor bars and restaurants, Tory urges Premier of Ontario

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Toronto Mayor John Tory urges Ontario Premier Doug Ford to adopt tougher measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 in restaurants or bars indoors, highlighting experiences of other countries.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Tory says he wants a new rule for Toronto that prohibits customers from getting up from chairs except to arrive, leave, pay or go to and from the bathroom.

He also wants to require restaurateurs to keep a diary of all customers and their contact details for up to 30 days, to have the last call at midnight instead of 2 a.m. for a period, and to force restaurant and bar staff to submit to health screening questions before the start of each shift.

Tory also asked Ford to describe the mask requirements for staff and customers in the provincial regulations.

His letter referred to the experiences of the southern states of the United States and South Korea, where large clusters of infection have been traced to people congregating in bars.

“People get up, they talk, they start talking a little louder when they’ve had a drink or two,” Tory told CP24 on Sunday.

“I also like to stand and chat with people in a bar, but not now.”

On Friday, much of Ontario was able to start eating and serving inside bars.

Toronto, the Greater Toronto Area, and parts of southwestern Ontario were detained until the growth of their COVID-19 cases further decreased.

Tory said some had urged him to delay opening the bars indefinitely because of the risk they pose for COVID-19 infection.

The Ontario Medical Association said the province should reconsider opening the bars as they pose a high risk of transmitting the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott responded on Twitter saying she “appreciates” the recommendations and will continue to work with Mayor Tory as the city awaits word that it can step into the step. 3 of the reopening.

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