Windsor business braces for disruption amid Omicron threat and capacity restrictions
The Ontario government is cutting capacity limits to 50 per cent for all indoor settings and reducing gathering sizes to 10 people as COVID-19 cases climb throughout the province.
Premier Doug Ford announced the new restrictions, which go into effect at 12:01 a.m. ET on Sunday, at a news conference held on Friday afternoon.
“Throughout this entire pandemic, we’ve never faced an enemy like Omicron given how quickly it spreads,” Ford said in a news release. “We need to do everything we can to slow its spread as we continue to dramatically ramp up capacity to get as many booster shots into arms as possible.”
Under the new restrictions, the province is reducing social gathering limits to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. As well, capacity limits for all indoor public settings, except religious settings, will be cut down to 50 per cent, including restaurants, bars, personal care services, fitness facilities, malls, and all retail stores.
Bars, restaurants, meeting and event spaces, and strip clubs will be required to close by 11 p.m. The sale of alcohol will be restricted after 10 p.m. Takeout service will be permitted beyond 11 p.m.
Food and drink services will be prohibited at sporting events, concert venues, theatres and cinemas, and other gaming establishments.
“This was not an easy decision to make before the holidays, but the evidence is clear that further public health measures are required to slow the spread of Omicron and prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed,” Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott said in the release.
The updated restrictions come two days after the province announced it would be capping capacity at 50 per cent for indoor venues with capacity greater than 1,000 people, including sports facilities, theatres and concert venues.
On Wednesday, Ontario also announced it would be expanding eligibility for COVID-19 booster shots to anyone 18 years of age or older starting on Monday.
The province logged 3,124 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday. The number of new infections across Ontario has been increasing at a steady rate over the last four days with 2,421 infections logged on Thursday, 1,808 on Wednesday and 1,429 on Tuesday.
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