The Ontario government has paused its plan to lift capacity limits for settings like night clubs and wedding receptions, citing an uptick in some COVID-19 indicators.
The phased and cautious approach to Ontario’s safe reopening includes ongoing monitoring and assessment of key public health and health care indicators.
While Ontario’s hospital and intensive care capacity remains stable and the province continues to report one of the lowest rates of active cases in the country, certain public health trends, including the effective reproduction number and percent positivity have increased slightly over the past week.
An increase in cases was always expected as more people move indoors due to the colder weather and as the province eased measures, according to a news release. However, out of an abundance of caution, existing capacity limits and physical distancing requirements for higher-risk settings where proof of vaccination is required will remain in place to ensure the province has the required time to better understand any potential impact on hospitalizations and ICU admissions.
The government and the Chief Medical Officer of Health will continue to monitor the data for the next 28 days to determine when it is safe to lift capacity limits in these settings.
“Throughout the pandemic our government has taken a cautious approach to reopening, ensuring our hospital capacity remains stable and the province continues to report one of the lowest rates of active cases in the country,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “To protect our hard-fought progress and ensure we can continue to manage COVID-19 for the long-term, more time is needed before we can take the next step forward in our reopening plan.
Health Minister Christine Elliott had indicated just the day before, on Tuesday, which the province would stick to its reopening plan.