Ford cabinet considering ban on indoor dining, stricter gathering limits in Ontario: sources

The Doug Ford government is considering introducing tougher COVID-19 restrictions as Ontario continues to see record-breaking daily new cases.

Sources told CTV News Toronto Sunday that Premier Doug Ford met with his cabinet to discuss possible measures to preserve hospital capacity and keep schools open amid the spread of the Omicron variant.

Among new restrictions being considered include banning indoor dining, lowering indoor (from 10 people to 5 and they should be fully vaccinated) and outdoor gathering limits, and decreasing capacity at essential retail to 50 per cent and 25 per cent for non-essential retail, sources said.

The government, sources said, is also considering putting limits on gyms and personal care services as well as banquet halls and weddings.

In addition, the province is looking into canceling ticketed events.

If the measures are approved, the government is planning to implement them as early as Wednesday and will be in place for three weeks before they are reassessed, sources said.

The cabinet meeting is being held the same day as Ontario reported more than 16,000 new cases of COVID-19. On Saturday, the province set a record for the number of new daily infections with more than 18,000.

Officials have advised that due to testing limitations, the numbers are an underestimate.

Colin Furness, an infection control epidemiologist, told CTV News Channel Sunday evening that the restrictions being considered should have been enforced last month.

“We needed some of them in December and I think that would have actually kept the lid on things. Now, these restrictions are only going to sort of scrape away at the bigger problem that we have — incredibly out of control transmission right now , Furness said.

“So, trying to negotiate with the virus with capacity limits, I don’t think it’s going to accomplish very much. At the same time, I know people don’t have an appetite for proper closures, which is what would be needed. So, we’re in a pretty difficult place.”

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