Rethinking Allowing Bars To Resume Indoors During Stage 3, Ford Government OMA Says

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Premier Doug Ford’s government should rethink allowing bars to continue serving customers indoors as much of the province enters stage 3 of the COVID-19 reopening plan, a said the Ontario Medical Association.In a statement released Friday, the OMA says that while reopening the economy is important to the financial, social and development needs of Ontarians, it is not an “all or nothing” situation, adding that bars have been shown to fuel the spread of the novel coronavirus to other parts of Canada and to other countries.

“A balanced approach that considers the risk of disease transmission in different contexts is essential to ensure a successful reopening that keeps security high on the list of priorities,” said the statement.

Last week, CBC Toronto announced plans to reopen the province’s third leg, which will allow activities such as indoor dining in restaurants, live performing arts performances and the reopening of cinemas and Playgrounds – even though important health and safety measures are in place, including physical distance measures, improved cleaning protocols and Plexiglas barriers.

On Friday, the province officially moved to Stage 3, with the exception of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, the Niagara Region and Windsor-Essex, which will remain in Stage 2 for the time being.

Reopening bars “poses a significant risk”

“Evidence from other jurisdictions indicates that reopening the bars poses a significant risk,” said OMA president Dr. Samantha Hill.

“When people consume alcohol, inhibitions are reduced, making them much less likely to practice physical distance, good masking behaviors and good hand hygiene. Indoor locations with reduced air ventilation pose a particularly high risk of transmission. ”

In a tweet on Friday, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) announced that it will team up with the city to increase inspections this weekend.

A photo of the interior of the iconic LGBTQ bar The Beaver in Toronto taken before the pandemic. The owners have closed the site for good because it is far too narrow to allow physical distance. The OMA says that bars have been shown to help spread COVID-19 to other jurisdictions. (Facebook page Ramy Arida / The Beaver)

“Given recent examples of bars in Toronto that violate the restrictions set out in the Emergency Management and Emergency Preparedness Act, the AGCO, @cityoftoronto and @TorontoPolice will team up to increase inspections of licensed alcohol establishments in the city this weekend, ”added the tweet. bed.

In the statement, the OMA also noted that recent outbreaks related to indoor bars have occurred around the world with recent examples, not only in other countries, such as Spain, Britain and the States. United, but also in Quebec.

“Here in Canada, we’ve seen an increase in the number of cases in Montreal, many of which date back to bars. The statement reads. “New bar-related cases have gone from 30 to 45 in one day and that number is expected to increase. ”

“It is important to note that in many of these cases, the bars followed public safety directives and yet the transmission has always taken place. The statement reads.

“We know how important reopening is to Ontario’s businesses and economy, and we urge the government to learn from the mistakes of other jurisdictions when it comes to reopening bars,” said the CEO of the ‘OMA, Allan O’Dette. “We have to keep moving forward, but we need to be careful because we can’t afford another full lockdown. ”

The OMA recommends that anyone with COVID-19 symptoms self-isolate and be tested.

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