Province closing strip clubs, limiting alcohol sales at bars

File photo courtesy of @CanStockPhoto/albund

With new cases of COVID-19 climbing by the hundreds each day in Ontario, the government is taking more steps to slow the spread.

The Ontario government announced Friday that it is closing all strip clubs in the province and putting limits on the time in which bars and restaurants can serve alcohol.

“Over the past five weeks, Ontario has experienced an increase in the rate of new COVID-19 cases,” a statement from the province said. “Private social gatherings continue to be a significant source of transmission in many local communities, along with outbreak clusters in restaurants, bars, and other food and drink establishments, including strip clubs, with most cases in the 20-39 age group.”

Effective at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, all strip clubs across Ontario will be closed. Bars, restaurants, and nightclubs will not be allowed to serve alcohol after 11 p.m. and alcohol will not be allowed to be consumed in these establishments between midnight and 9 a.m. They will also have to be closed between midnight and 5 a.m., except for takeout or delivery.

Businesses will also be required to “comply with any advice, recommendations, and instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health on screening for COVID-19, including screening individuals who wish to enter their premises.”

“Last week our government took immediate action to respond to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases, by setting new limits for certain social gatherings and organized public events across Ontario. As the number of cases have continued to rise, it is evident that despite the tremendous efforts of Ontarians further action is required to prevent the spread of the virus,” said Health Minister Christine Elliott. “On the advice of Ontario’s public health officials, we are moving forward with these measures to help keep Ontarians safe by limiting the potential for exposure in locations where the current risk of transmission is higher, and to avoid future lockdowns. Protecting the health and wellbeing of Ontarians will always remain our top priority.”

Ontario reported 409 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday. It was the second day in a row that 409 new cases were reported.