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Ontario has halted its plans to increase capacity limits in some "higher-risk" indoor settings, citing an increase in effective reproduction number and percent positivity over the past week.
"Throughout the pandemic our government has taken a cautious approach to reopening, ensuring our hospital capacity remains stable and the province continues to report one of the lowest rates of active cases in the country," a statement from Christine Elliott, Ontario's Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, reads.
"To protect our hard-fought progress and ensure we can continue to manage COVID-19 for the long-term, more time is needed before we can take the next step forward in our reopening plan."
These higher-risk settings include:
food or drink establishments with dance facilities such as night clubs and wedding receptions in meeting/event spaces where there is dancing
sex clubs and bathhouses
The provincial government has stated that this move is being made "out of an abundance of caution," as an increase in COVID-19 cases "was always expected as more people move indoors due to the colder weather and as the province eased measures."
Ontario's chief medical officer of health will monitor the data for the next 28 days to determine when it is safe to lift capacity limits in these settings.
"While Ontario has continued to make progress as a result of its safe and cautious approach to reopening, it is necessary to make this deliberate pause as we approach the winter holidays where more people will begin gathering indoors and where students will be returning to in-class learning in January after celebrating with friends and family,” a statement from Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario's chief medical officer of health, reads.
"Over the coming weeks and months, we need to stay the course on reaching those who have not yet been vaccinated, follow public health and workplace safety measures, and continue to remain vigilant in order to minimize the transmission of COVID-19 and keep our communities safe."