St. Patrick’s Day in Ontario is not cancelled but it’s close

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Ontario’s Health Minister is warning revellers celebrating St. Patrick’s Day to be cautious about going out to party.

During a news conference on Monday morning, Minister Christine Elliott said Ontario is not yet at the point of ordering the closure of bars and restaurants to try to reduce the spread of COVID-19 like Michigan Governor Gretchen Witmer did earlier the same day. However, Elliott added the situation is rapidly changing and the province will take the step if necessary.

Then, Monday afternoon, Ontario’s Medical Officer of Health recommended the closure of restaurants though it is not mandatory. Dr. David Williams said takeout and delivery can carry on.

Elliott said this is a rapidly changing situation and nothing has been ruled out.

“We’re recommending people be very cautious about that. Make your own judgement. If you have any concerns be in touch with your local public health unit if you’re holding an event,” Elliott said.

Elliott said people should stay away from large gatherings of 50 or more.

“Closing all bars and restaurants and declaring a state of emergency, if we have to do that and that is something that’s is always being discussed, we will do that but we don’t believe we are at that stage yet,” she added.

The minister said people should be very careful about the choices they make on March 17.

“Certainly we would discourage people from going into large gatherings. We want to make sure we can keep the people of Ontario safe and healthy,” Elliott said.

The Kildare House and Thompson House in Windsor have already announced some changes for St. Patrick’s Day like closing down their outdoor tents.

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is asking the public to keep busy emergency departments clear this St. Patrick’s Day by avoiding over-consuming, large crowds, and close contact.

Windsor’s medical officer of health also echoed his provincial counterpart’s recommendation later on Monday.