The Government of Ontario is implementing new measures for gyms, restaurants, and bars in Toronto, Peel, and Ottawa.
On Friday, Premier Doug Ford said that starting at 12:01 on October 3, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs will imposed a table capacity of six people and the establishment must collect contact information from every diner.
These rules are already in place in Toronto through Toronto Public Health’s recommendations but would be implemented in Peel and Ottawa.
“The modelling we released this week demonstrates the absolute necessity to take action now to reverse current trends and protect our hospital capacity,” said Ford.
“With the weather changing and more people moving indoors, the decision to introduce new restrictions on restaurants, gyms, and other businesses was difficult. However, we will do whatever is necessary, acting on the advice of our public health experts, to turn the tide on this second wave and keep everyone safe.”
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Also at 12:01 on Saturday, the province is making it mandatory to wear masks in any workplace or indoor setting if physical distancing cannot be maintained.
Ford announced that new restrictions on banquet halls will limit capacity to 50 people per facility rather than 50 people per room — what is currently allowed.
Also new rules at gyms would include stricter capacity limits, as well as restrictions on group exercise classes being 10 for classes and 50 people or less in the facility.
“We also need to limit close contact with anyone outside of your household, especially with Thanksgiving so close,” the premier said.
In addition, a pause on reopening of facilities will occur for another 28 days.
And starting on October 6, assessment centres will have an appointment-based testing, providing “certainty to patients as to when they can receive a test during the cold winter months and allowing assessment centres to conduct enhanced screening.”
This means that starting on Sunday, assessment centres will discontinue walk-in testing services so that the province’s lab network can make progress in processing tests, which are severely backlogged.
The province will continue mobile testing and pop-up testing centres to reach vulnerable populations and provide targeted testing for long-term care, congregate care, and other vulnerable populations.
More pharmacies will be allowing testing for asymptomatic individuals.
Ontario is also taking longer-term actions to increase the province’s test processing capacity by increasing to 50,000 tests per day by mid-October and 68,000 tests per day by mid-November.
“With Ontario’s recent alarming growth in the number of COVID-19 cases, our government is taking further action to help stop the spread of the virus and avoid future lockdowns,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said.
“These are difficult but necessary decisions that are being made to keep people safe, especially our seniors and vulnerable citizens. Everyone must follow the public health guidelines if we are going to stop the spread and contain the second wave.”
On Wednesday, top health officials forecasted Ontario could be reporting 1,000 daily new cases in the first half of October.
The province reported 732 new coronavirus cases on Friday morning, which is the highest single-day count to date.
As of October 2, there has been a total of 52,980 cases, with 44,850 resolved and 2,927 reported deaths.