Ontario’s restaurant workers will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 2 of immunizations, before they’d otherwise get the shot because of their age bracket.
Premier Doug Ford confirmed servers would be included in Phase 2 during a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
“We just got notice that restaurant workers will be in Phase 2,” he said.
Several other types of frontline workers who can’t do their job from home are also included in Phase 2, such as school staff, police, and firefighters.
People living in congregate settings can also book a vaccine appointment during Phase 2, and so can people from communities where there have been historic and ongoing outbreaks of the virus.
The province is currently wrapping up Phase 1, where health workers and seniors over 80 get their shot. Phase 2 is set to begin in April.
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Ford spoke from Toronto’s new mass vaccination clinic in Thorncliffe Park, where officials announced the province is providing $3.7 million to help vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities get to their vaccine appointments.
“We will quite literally drive you to your vaccine appointment. Because a lack of transportation should never get in the way of something so important,” Finance Minister Peter Bethanfalvy said.
He declined to elaborate on whether ride-share, taxi, or another transportation service would take seniors to their appointments, only saying the government is ironing out the details with “transportation partners.”
Bethanfalvy added about a third of people over 80 in Ontario have not yet been vaccinated, and he hopes adding transportation help will encourage them to get their shot.
This block of funding was announced a day before the Government of Ontario releases its second pandemic budget on Wednesday.
More details about how to access transportation services to and from COVID-19 vaccine appointments will be available in the coming days, the Government of Ontario said in a news release.