(Bloomberg) — Ontario said it will once again close restaurants and shift schools to online learning as the omicron variant threatens to overwhelm the province’s hospital system.
“We’re bracing for impact,” Premier Doug Ford said at a news conference Monday. “The math isn’t on our side.”
The measures come as Ontario deals with a spike in Covid-19 cases that has resulted in a larger number of hospitalizations. Canada’s most populous province reported a record 18,455 new cases on Jan. 1. A case rate of 50,000 would mean 500 hospitalizations per day, more than the peak of 265 seen last spring, according to the statement. The province could soon see hundreds of thousands of daily cases.
Ford said the province could see “hundreds of thousands” of new cases a day. As a result, his government will implement a new work-from-home order including stricter limits on indoor gatherings, as well as tighter restrictions on public events.
“As we continue with or provincial vaccine booster efforts, we must look at every option to slow the spread of the highly contagious omicron variant,” Ford said in a release Monday. He said the measures would be “time limited” and are tentatively scheduled to lift Jan. 26.
Ontario will also be closing gyms, theaters and other indoor venues. The shift to remote learning at schools begins Jan. 5, when in-person classes had been scheduled to resume.
“As cases continue to rise at a rapid rate and evidence on the omicron variant evolves, additional time-limited measures are needed to help limit transmission as Team Ontario continues to get booster doses into arms,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said in a statement. Ontario has now delivered more than 3.7 million booster shots.
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Ontario Shuts Restaurants, Returns to Online Schools as Cases Spike
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