British Columbia has ordered nightclubs and banquet halls closed, with provincial health officer Bonnie Henry citing these facilities as a major source of coronavirus transmission since the province allowed them to reopen.
British Columbia has registered 429 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday. The province has also recorded two more deaths, both in long-term care homes. In just one week, in late August, the Vancouver Coastal Health regional health authority announced public displays at three separate nightclubs on Granville Street in Vancouver.
“Despite weeks of efforts by public health teams, these sites create significant risks for everyone in British Columbia and make it harder to protect those most vulnerable to serious illness,” the report said on Tuesday. Dr Henry at a press conference.
British Columbia becomes the first province to cancel part of its reopening, just as schools across the country resume in-person classes and the number of cases rises in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario.
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Ontario said Tuesday it was suspending any further reopening for at least a month, as classes resume and coronavirus cases rise in Toronto, Ottawa and Peel Region, an area west of Toronto which includes Mississauga. Ontario has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, reporting 375 new COVID-19 cases in the past two days.
The pause in reopening means the 10-person social bubbles and the gathering limits – already at 100 for outdoor events and 50 for indoor events, with physical distancing – will not be widened further. It also maintains these same assembly limits in team sports and sporting events in the province.
“The latest trends in numbers have raised concerns, especially as we begin to reopen schools and post-secondary institutions,” said Ontario Minister of Health Christine Elliott. “Taking a break from the reopening right now will help us avoid reverting to large-scale closings and closings. ”
In British Columbia, Dr Henry said inadvertent transmission, largely among young people, is more likely in crowded settings where alcohol is present.
Revised health product orders for British Columbia include a 10 p.m. deadline for alcohol sales in bars and restaurants. They must close at 11 p.m. unless they are serving food.
The new rules also require that music and other background noise, such as televisions, not be louder than normal conversation, so people will be less likely to scream and potentially transmit the virus.
Jeff Guignard, executive director of the British Columbia Alliance of Beverage Licensees, representing pubs, bars and nightclubs across the province, said Tuesday’s announcement would result in job losses and bankrupt businesses.
“There is a lot of frustration and a deep, deep disappointment. A lot of people have said, “I think this is the death of our industry,” “he said in an interview.
Guignard said a recent survey of ABLE members indicated that about half of the industry believed it should shut down by the end of the year.
The Hospitality Vancouver Association, which represents businesses in the vibrant downtown Granville Entertainment District, called the news “incredibly disappointing.”
In a statement, spokeswoman Laura Ballance said many members have worked very hard “and at” considerable cost “to implement mandatory and recommended COVID-19 protocols to be reopened during the pandemic.
“The vast majority of these facilities have been operating very efficiently, responsibly and safely since their reopening and our already beleaguered area is likely to face significant permanent closures as a result of today’s announcement.
But Ian Tostenson, president and CEO of the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association, said his organization “can live with this and help help the province.”
“We will, however, continue to need federal support for wages and rents and provincial support for pricing and delivery of alcohol,” he said.
Dr Henry said the province needs to focus on getting students back to school and back to work, which means reducing social interactions.
“Yes, I think these are necessary actions right now,” she added. “We’re doing it for things that we think will make a difference. It became evident that some sites were very high risk environments.
In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford said the increase in cases was “of great concern” and blamed large gatherings, including weddings and parties, as well as people who are not in quarantine when they arrive. in Canada. But he said he had no plans to lift the restrictions yet. “We’re not there yet. But if it keeps crawling and crawling and people ignore the directions… ”
Ontario Assistant Medical Officer of Health Barbara Yaffe said the new cases are attributed to outbreaks at a church in Toronto, a wedding in York Region and smaller outbreaks at workplaces in the province. She said several cases among school staff had been reported by public health departments, but the cases had been acquired in the community and not in schools.
Ryan Mallough, director of provincial affairs for Ontario at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, said most small businesses are already open under Stage 3 of the reopening plan. But he said the hiatus will affect businesses such as Sloped Aisles – still limited to 50 people – and the outdoor “pick your own fruit” industry, which pushes the boundaries to expand outdoors.
Also on Tuesday, Ford hosted Quebec Premier François Legault at a special Ontario-Quebec government summit at a hotel near Mississauga Pearson International Airport.
The two leaders and their top cabinet ministers were to continue discussing Wednesday – with health protocols in place – about restarting their economies while preparing for a possible second wave of COVID-19. Quebec reported 163 new cases on Tuesday, including 216 the day before.
Mr. Ford and Mr. Legault, who councilors say have a strong relationship, were due to travel with their wives to Mr. Ford’s home in the Toronto suburb of Etobicoke on Wednesday night for what the Prime Minister’s Office of Ontario says to be a physically distant private dinner. .
Mr. Legault is about to take over as chairman of the Premier’s Council of the Federation from Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe. Later this month, the council is due to meet, and Mr. Legault and Mr. Ford are eager to present a united front to the federal government as feuds begin over a second round of funding for recovery efforts. in the event of a pandemic, health care infrastructure and funding. .
One of the cabinet ministers of Mr. Legault, François Bonnardel, will have to miss the Ontario-Quebec rally because he is one of a handful of high-level Quebec politicians who had to isolate themselves after the mayor of Longueuil, Sylvie Parent, has tested positive for COVID-19. They had been in contact with Ms. Parent or had crossed paths with someone who had.
With a report from Tu Thanh Ha in Toronto
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