gyms closing toronto

Toronto gyms and indoor dining are being shut down for at least the next month

Friday has proven to be a big day for COVID-19 news in Ontario, with numerous major changes slated to be put into effect to help curb accelerating transmission as new case numbers in the province spike over 900 for the first time since the health crisis began.

The latest stats revealing 939 new infections were leaked to news outlets before they were officially released on the province's dedicated webpage this morning, as was the fact that Premier Doug Ford called an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss re-implementing some restrictions from Stage 2 of reopening in at least a part of the province.

According to sources, the hotspots of Toronto, Ottawa and Peel will be the targets of further measures as soon as 12:01 a.m. on Saturday — something some health officials residents of more rural areas have been calling for.

In an amended version of Stage 2, the three regions will see indoor dining at bars and restaurants banned once more, and gyms, movie theatres and casions shuttered. If passed by cabinet today, the new rules are expected to last at least 28 days as community spread and ICU admission rise in the urban centres.

More than one-third of recent community outbreaks in Toronto specifically have been linked to bars and restaurants, with popular establishments like Yonge Street Warehouse, Sotto Sotto and Regulars Bar among those who have publicly confirmed infections among staff (though not required to by law).

Select retail stores and gyms have also seen new cases, with speculation that some businesses may not be strictly adhering to health and safety protocols.

Friday morning, the city suspended all indoor recreational programming, which follows Ford's decision to lower capacity limits for gyms and hospitality settings in Toronto, Peel and Ottawa.

The province also closed strip clubs, introduced a hard 11 p.m last call and midnight close for bars and restaurants, nixed social circles, decreased the caps for social gatherings and extended mandatory masking to all areas of the province in recent days in an attempt to mitigate the virus's spread.

Still, officials such as Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa are calling for far more stringent measures, including only permitting residents to leave the house for essential trips.

The flurry of updates comes as the economy reels and small businesses beg to be allowed to continue operations after months of pandemic closures that pushed many into financial ruin.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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