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Province announces new restrictions on bars, restaurants, strip clubs

Changes effective province-wide beginning Sept. 26 at 12:01 a.m.

TORONTO – After witnessing a steady rise in the number of COVID-19 cases across Ontario, the provincial government has announced new restrictions applying to restaurants, bars and strip clubs.

In a press release on Friday, the Ontario government stated private social gatherings are a significant source of COVID-19 transmission in many communities, along with outbreak clusters in restaurants, bars and strip clubs. A majority of the recent cases have been in the 20-39 age group.

The new measures are province-wide and come into effect Saturday, Sept. 26 at 12:01 a.m. Those measures include:

– prohibiting the sale of alcohol after 11 p.m. at restaurants and bars (including nightclubs) and the consumption of alcohol on the premises after midnight until 9 a.m. (including employees). Also, those establishments must close by midnight and remain closed until 5 a.m., except for takeout or delivery;

– close all strip clubs across the province; and

– require businesses or organizations to comply with any advice, recommendations, and instructions issued by public health on screening for COVID-19, including screening individuals who wish to enter their premises.

“As the number of cases have continued to rise, it is evident that despite the tremendous efforts of Ontarians further action is required to prevent the spread of the virus,” said Christine Elliott, Ontario’s deputy premier and minister of health.

“On the advice of Ontario’s public health officials, we are moving forward with these measures to help keep Ontarians safe by limiting the potential for exposure in locations where the current risk of transmission is higher, and to avoid future lockdowns. Protecting the health and wellbeing of Ontarians will always remain our top priority.”

The Ontario government also stated on Friday that they will work with the municipal sector and other partners to encourage increased enforcement of existing public health and workplace safety measures and restrictions at businesses, facilities and workplaces.

The province is also encouraging residents to download the COVID Alert app on their smartphone.