It hurts me to share our COVID-19 case count for today. Ontario reported 3,124 new COVID-19 cases this Friday, the highest number since early May 2021, and five deaths due to the virus. The rapid increase of cases points to the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant. It also highlights the need for caution.
Because of that, the government announced new measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and avoid overburdening Ontario hospitals. Here are the new rules, which come into effect on Sunday:
- Indoor social gathering limits will be reduced from 25 people to 10, and outdoor gatherings will be reduced from 100 people to 25.
- Capacity limits will be reduced to 50% for many businesses, including restaurants, bars, malls, retailers (including grocery stores and pharmacies), gyms and personal care services. The entire list can be found here.
- The number of people permitted to sit at the same table in restaurants will be limited to 10. People will also be required to remain seated.
- Bars and restaurants, meeting and event spaces and strip clubs will be required to close by 11 p.m. (except for take-out and delivery).
- Dancing will not be allowed in indoor public spaces except for workers or performers.
- Food and/or drink services will be prohibited at sporting events, concert venues, theatres, cinemas, casinos and other gaming establishments, racing tracks and other similar venues.
- The sale of alcohol will be restricted after 10 p.m., and consumption of alcohol in businesses will be restricted after 11 p.m.
As we approach the holiday season, I know this is not the news you wanted to hear. We were all looking forward to spending some quality time with our loved ones without having to worry about COVID-19 transmissions and capacity limits. Despite how challenging this all is, I also know that each person in our caring community will do their part, so that one day (hopefully soon!) we can finally say ‘goodbye’ to this COVID-19 pandemic.
Of course, doing your part means getting vaccinated! As a reminder, anyone over 18 will be eligible to book their booster shots as of Monday (December 20). To book your vaccine appointment using the provincial online portal, click here. For a list of pharmacies where you can receive a COVID-19 vaccine, click here.
Unfortunately, due to the high number of COVID-19 cases, I have decided to cancel my office holiday social that would have happened tomorrow in front of my office. That said, stay tuned as we pivot to online once again (date and time to be confirmed)!
On a happier note, please join me for a New Year Check-In Zoom call on January 6th at 7 PM! In this event, I will report on my main activities and achievements for 2021. I also want to hear about YOUR hopes for 2022 and YOUR current topics of concern. If you are interested in joining the conversation, RSVP by emailing my office at [email protected]. Please include “New Year Check-In” in the email subject line.
Finally, please note that the newsletter will be paused for the winter holidays! This is our last newsletter of the year, and we will be back on January 7th.
I wish you all a restful and happy holiday season!
See you in 2022!