Yesterday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced new restrictions as the province grapples with the exponential rise in COVID-19 cases driven by the infectious Omicron variant.
On top of a delayed return to school by two weeks – a shift from the previously announced two-day delay – the province is also reverting to a modified version of Stage Two of Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopen beginning at 12:01 am on Wednesday, January 5th.
— Hamilton Spectator (@TheSpec) January 4, 2022
In Hamilton, this means that indoor dining at restaurants, bars, and other food & drink establishments is forced to close up for at least 21 days, with takeaway and delivery still permitted.
Additionally, large venues such as live theatres, cinemas, indoor sports venues, and concert halls have been ordered to close to the public for at least 21 days. The same applies to gyms and fitness centres.
Making these restrictions even more challenging is the fact that, so far, no subsidy or government support has been announced to keep impacted businesses and their affected employees afloat during these ordered closures.
Further restrictions announced include capacity limits reintroduced in personal care and non-essential retail settings, with a cap at 50 per cent.
For private gatherings, capacity limits have also been reinstated, with 5 people maximum allowed indoors and 10 maximum allowed outdoors.
This is an especially difficult blow for Hamilton’s small businesses, particularly those in the hospitality and entertainment industries who have often been hit hardest by restrictions throughout the pandemic.
Locals are encouraged to continue supporting their favourite spots in any way possible, including ordering takeout and purchasing gift cards or memberships.
Read the full announcement on the Ontario website.