Restaurants Canada says it is “extremely disappointed” that the Ontario government has chosen to lift capacity limits in some places, but not for the “hardest hit” food industry.
From Saturday morning, cinemas, theaters, concert and spectator sports venues and car and horse racing tracks were allowed to open to full capacity.
The province says there have been few outbreaks in the selected settings and most other public health measures such as masks remain in place.
Capacity rules continue to apply in other places that require proof of vaccination, such as gyms and restaurants.
Food service sector ‘designated’
In a statement issued Friday, the national, non-profit association representing Canada’s restaurant and food industry says it does not understand why it continues to be “appointed” by the Ontario government.
“It is beyond comprehension that 20,000 people can crowd into an arena, scream and gather close together without masks, while restaurants must adhere to strict distancing rules that severely limit the number of customers that can be served,” wrote Restaurants Canada.
The association says the restaurant industry was the first to close during the start of COVID-19, has suffered the longest closures and faced the “deepest restrictions” during the entire pandemic.
It calls on the province to immediately lift all further restrictions on industry and provide additional support to recognize the cost of implementing the vaccine passport program.
The Ontario government says it is making capacity limitation changes based on high vaccination rates, stable public health indicators and vaccine certificate policies.
Physical distance requirements rise along with capacity limits, with some exceptions such as indoor meeting and event spaces, which still have to hold two meters between people.
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What’s happening around the world
As of Saturday, more than 237.3 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus detection tool. The reported global death toll was more than 4.8 million.
IN Asia-Pacific region, the airport on Indonesia’s holiday island of Bali held a simulation exercise on Saturday to ensure procedures were in place to welcome international tourists, who have mostly been shut out due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The exercise follows the government’s decision to reopen the island to international travelers starting on 14 October.
IN Asia, The Tokyo government said on Saturday that new daily infections of COVID-19 in the Japanese capital fell to 82, the lowest since October 19 last year.
Cases have been on the decline since peaking at more than 5,000 a day in August in a wave driven by the highly contagious delta variant. Tokyo and large parts of Japan left a state of emergency last week that had lasted for nearly six months.
IN Europe, allows officials in Italy cinemas to reopen at full capacity on Monday. Nightclubs and dance halls will be able to open with 50 percent capacity indoors and 75 percent outdoors.
IN Russia, health officials reported 968 coronavirus deaths on Saturday, the highest death toll in a day since the start of the pandemic. 29,362 new cases had been registered in the last 24 hours, the government’s coronavirus task force said.
IN America, The New York Comic Con is expected to draw about 140,000 fans this weekend to the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan. The convention opened Thursday and lasts until Sunday.
Last year’s event was held in a virtual format due to the pandemic. Participants this year who are 12 years and older must be vaccinated. Persons under that age must show evidence of a negative COVID-19 test.