Will Ontario’s latest public health measures be lifted on January 26? The province’s top doctor says he can’t guarantee it

It’s unclear whether businesses shut down by the Ontario government last week will reopen on Jan. 26, after the province’s top doctors revealed on Thursday that he “cannot guarantee” the new public health restrictions by that date. be lifted.

“Once we have clarity, we want to inform the business community, so I can’t guarantee the 26th,” said Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, during a news conference. “We will be looking at the same data as those experts at the scientific table and we are working with them to inform public health measures.”

Earlier this month, the provincial government announced sweeping new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 variant Omicron and its impact on Ontario’s healthcare system, including moving schools online until January 17, allowing indoor dining in restaurants and bars, and reducing capacity in retail environments and personal care services to 50 percent until at least January 26.

Since then, Moore said he and his team have been looking for a plateau and a spike in the number of patients being hospitalized and in intensive care for COVID-19. Once that happens, Moore said the plan is to “slowly and gently” lift public health restrictions.

“Our public health measures have just been implemented on the [Jan.] fifth, we should begin to see the benefit of the sacrifices the Ontarians made next week. We should have clarity early in the week about where we are,” Moore said.

Moore’s comments come after the Ontario Chamber of Commerce called on the province to clarify what public health statistics are used to guide government decisions to impose and lift restrictions.

President and CEO Rocco Rossi said in a statement Thursday that because the county has announced schools will return on Monday, business owners need to know if they can reopen on Jan. 26.

“We implore the government to immediately clarify whether Ontario will exit Step 2 of its Roadmap to Reopen plan so that employers, workers and families can plan accordingly,” Rossi said.

“To help reduce business uncertainty, we continue to advocate for transparency and visibility of the metrics that lead to the imposition or removal of public health restrictions.”

Moore insisted the government’s intention is to keep the shutdowns “as short as possible” and apologized to business owners for the difficulties public health measures may have caused.

With files from The Canadian Press

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