Its back to the future in Ontario as the Ford Government has returned the province to liquor serving restrictions not seen since the 1950”s. Bars and restaurants across Ontario will shut down earlier and all strip clubs will close, Premier Doug Ford announced Friday, saying the new rules were needed to fight a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Ford said the latest restrictions would help reduce transmission in high-risk businesses.
Bars and restaurants will now be required to close at midnight, except for takeout and delivery, and will have to stop serving alcohol by 11 p.m.
“We’ve seen doubling in cases in a very short period of time and it’s very, very concerning,” Ford said. “There’s been outbreaks and …we just can’t chance it.”
Some mayors in the Greater Toronto Area had requested similar measures for weeks, and Ford had initially resisted taking action, saying municipalities had the power to impose restrictions on businesses under public health regulations if they wanted to.
On Friday, however, Ford said a change was necessary.
“We just can’t have these places open until three o’clock in the morning,” he said. “But we’re being very balanced, I feel.”
The new rules follow a decision by the province last week to change limits on social gatherings, lowering the number of people permitted at outdoor events to 25 and indoor events to 10.
A spokesman for Restaurants Canada said Friday that the government had not shown that organization any data to backup the restrictions, but the businesses will continue to do their part to fight the pandemic. Restaurateurs argue the main source of the current surge is unregulated private gatherings.