Ontario Considering COVID-19 Measures That Would Affect Certain Restaurants, Bars, Banquet Halls and Gyms

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TORONTO – The Ontario government is actively considering new regional restrictions and province-wide measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 that is believed to affect select restaurants, bars, banquet halls and gyms, CTV News Toronto has learned . CTV News Toronto has learned that Premier Doug Ford’s office is also reviewing a mandatory masking policy that would make it a province-wide requirement to wear a face shield in workspaces or indoors where the distance physical cannot be maintained.

The final decision is expected to be made once Cabinet meets this morning.

Ford is expected to speak at 1 p.m. today, which CTVNewsToronto.ca will broadcast live.

Sources familiar with the decision tell CTV News Toronto that the government is hoping the new restrictions send a strong signal as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

“This is the last thing we can do before we get to Stage 2,” the source told CTV News Toronto on the condition that they are not appointed to discuss internal deliberations.

The regional restrictions recommended by the Provincial Health Command Table would affect bars, restaurants, banquet halls and gyms in Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa – with new capacity limits and requirements contact tracing.

Restaurants, bars and nightclubs would face new capacity restrictions, have a maximum capacity of six tables, and be required to collect contact details for each diner or customer.

Banquet halls would also face capacity limits, if the new measures were approved, rather than the current limit of 50 people per hall, excluding staff. The current proposal is a maximum of 50 people per establishment.

Gyms in affected areas would also face capacity limits, including restrictions on group classes.

While a final decision has yet to be made, recommendations have come from medical authorities the Ford government has relied on to guide them through the pandemic.

The potential changes come a day after Ford said the government would not close restaurants and any further action would be “evidence-based.”

“There has to be a justification if we are closing restaurants,” Ford said at Thursday’s press conference.

Ontario’s chief medical officer of health said the province was considering more surgical measures, which would target areas of the spread, rather than the province as a whole.

The new rules – if approved – are expected to go into effect on October 4 and would be under review after 28 days or two 14-day incubation periods for the virus.

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