THE SCOOP | Concert Halls Closed Again as Ontario Temporarily Suspended Due to Omicron
According to a media announcement from the Doug Ford government, the province of Ontario will close concert halls, in-person dining and impose other restrictions due to the rapid rise of the Omicron variant.
The province calls it a temporary shift to a “modified second stage of the roadmap to reopening.” Specifically, the measures impose restrictions come into effect on Wednesday, January 5, 2022 at 12:01 a.m. for a period of at least 21 days – meaning that the first date of reopening will be January 26, 2022.
The new measures
The new and old measures include a series of restrictions designed to limit person-to-person contact. Live events and in-person dining are suspended, with indoor gatherings limited to five people.
- Social gatherings limited to five people indoors and 10 people outdoors;
- Public events organized limited to five people inside;
- Closure of indoor concert hallstheatres, cinemas, rehearsals and taped performances permitted with restrictions;
- It looks like bars will be allowed to stay open, with restricted alcohol sales after 10 p.m.;
- Closing of indoor dining in restaurants, bars and establishments, with outdoor dining (with restrictions), take-out, drive-thru and delivery permitted.
Children will be back to school online until at least January 17, and working from home is also back on the menu. The full list of restrictions is available here.
The Omicron difference
It is true that the evidence seems to indicate that infection with the Omicron variant is less severe than its nightmarish cousin Delta. However, it also appears to be much more transmissible, meaning that even with a low hospitalization rate, a higher infection rate will still overwhelm the medical infrastructure.
“While the risks of serious illness are lower with Omicron than with previous variants of concern, it is much more transmissible and hospitalizations are expected to continue to increase, which will put increased pressure on our healthcare system,” said Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health in a press release.
It’s the speed at which it cuts through Ontario’s population that is the problem.
“As we continue our provincial vaccine recall efforts, we must consider all options to slow the spread of the highly contagious variant of Omicron,” said Premier Doug Ford. “Having these targeted, time-limited measures in place will give us more opportunities to deliver vaccines to all Ontarians and ensure everyone has maximum protection against this virus.
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