Ontario delays school return by two weeks, moves to modified Stage Two restrictions

Ontario is delaying the return to school by two weeks and bringing back numerous other COVID-19 restrictions as cases continue to skyrocket across the province.

Premier Doug Ford announced on Monday afternoon that elementary and secondary schools will move to virtual learning until at least January 17th, and that the province will move back to a modified Stage Two for at least 21 days starting on Wednesday, January 5th.

These Stage Two measures include a temporary closure of indoor dining at restaurants and bars until at least January 26th, with takeout and delivery still permitted. Gyms and indoor fitness centres will similarly be closed until at least January 26th.

Also closing under Stage Two measures are indoor concert venues, theatres, cinemas, museums, galleries, and other similar indoor gathering spaces. Personal care services such as hairdressers will be permitted at 50 per cent capacity.

Additionally, non-essential retail stores, including malls, will be capped at a capacity limit of 50 per cent. Indoor private gatherings are now capped at 5 people, and outdoor gatherings are capped at 10 people.

The new measures are intended to help slow the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant and avoid overwhelming the province’s healthcare system.

Read the release on the Ontario website.

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