The promise of Stage 3 is on the horizon for regions across Ontario, and while that brings indoor dining with it, dancing remains prohibited.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced that 24 regions in the province could move into the next Stage of reopening on Friday, July 17 at 12:01 am.
Toronto, alongside York, Peel, Durham, Halton, Niagara, Lambton, and Windsor-Essex, will not be stepping into Stage 3 quite yet, but today’s announcement does offer insight into what changes are to come.
In Stage 3, gatherings will increase to 50 indoors and 100 outdoors, as dine-in restaurants, bars, gyms, performing arts centres, casinos, concert venues, recreational facilities, and more will be able to reopen.
However, there’s still a hefty list of high-risk places and activities that will not yet be permitted as regions reach Stage 3.
One of these includes dancing at your favourite eatery.
“Dancing at restaurants and bars, other than by performers hired by the establishment following specific requirements,” is listed as high-risk on the province’s Stage 3 outline, alongside buffet-style food services, overnight stays at camps for children, private karaoke rooms, saunas, amusement parks, and more.
The Chief Medical Officer of Health and public health experts advised these places and activities with a high risk level due to the likelihood of large crowds congregating, difficulties with physical distancing, or challenges maintaining the proper cleaning and sanitation required to prevent the spread of the virus.
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“Our success in reducing the spread of COVID-19 and getting Ontario to a place where we are ready to reopen most of the province is a testament to the hard work of business owners, individuals and families right across the province,” Premier Doug Ford said on Monday.
“So many have stepped up and played by the rules, demonstrating that we can restart our economy safely and responsibly. Small actions can make a big difference. Now more than ever, we must continue to follow the public health advice to preserve the progress we have made together.”
The prohibition on dancing carries over from a provincial order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act’s Stage 2 Closures.
The order, divided into sections for restaurants and bars, public libraries, personal care services, and other affected industries, explicitly states that at eateries, “no dancing or singing may be permitted in the outdoor dining areas.”
So when the time comes, enjoy your beer in the air conditioning, but keep your seat in the seat.
With files from Clarrie Feinstein.