Ontario Moves Schools To Online Learning, Bans Indoor Meals, Issues New COVID Capacity Restrictions

– The Ontario government has issued several new COVID-19 public health measures including moving schools online, closures, and capacity limits for businesses as the province struggles to contain the spread of Omicron.

TORONTO.- Students and staff will not return to in-person learning this week. Schools will switch to remote learning starting Wednesday for at least two weeks.

“All private and publicly funded schools will transition to remote learning from January 5 through at least January 17, subject to public health trends and operational considerations,” the government said.

However, the school buildings will be open for child care operations, including emergency child care, and for in-person instruction for students with special needs who cannot learn remotely.

The move comes as Ontario Medical Director of Health Dr. Kieran Moore, just days earlier on Thursday, said the students would return to the classroom after the break. He gave a two-day extension for schools and parents to prepare.

But starting Monday, Premier Doug Ford said students will not be in class and will begin 2022 by learning virtually.

Ford made the announcement along with Moore, Health Minister Christine Elliott, Finance Minister Peter Bethlenflavy, and Ontario Health CEO Matt Anderson.

Ontario implements more capacity limits and closures for businesses
Ford also issued several new measures and capacity limits for Ontario companies, beginning Wednesday, January 5 at 12:01 a.m. These measures will be in effect for at least 21 days (through January 26):

There will be no more dining inside the restaurants.

Al fresco dining is permitted with restrictions, as well as take-out and drive-thru options.

The sale of alcohol will be restricted after 10 pm and consumption on the premises must end at 11 pm There are exceptions for delivery and take away food.

The gyms were ordered closed. This includes any indoor sports and recreational facilities with the exception of athletes training for the Olympic or Paralympic Games and other select athletes.

All retail establishments and public libraries will be limited to 50 percent of their capacity. The closure of food courts in shopping centers will be required.

Personal care services will be limited to 50 percent of capacity.

Indoor meetings and indoor public events will be limited to five people. Outdoor meetings will be restricted to 10 people.

Indoor weddings, funerals, and other religious services are limited to 50 percent of the capacity of the particular room. Outdoor services are limited to the number of people who can maintain two meters of physical distance.

The province orders the closure of: concert halls, theaters, cinemas, museums, galleries, zoos, scientific centers, monuments, historical sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions, amusement parks and water parks, tourist and guide services and fairs, rural zones. exhibitions, festivals, indoor horse racing tracks, car racing tracks and other similar venues.

Wherever possible, employers should require employees to work from home, unless the nature of their work requires them to be on-site.

The province is calling the new measures a “Modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen,” a similar pattern seen in the spring / summer of 2021 when Ontario emerged from the third wave.

Ontario reissues directive for hospitals to pause all non-urgent surgeries and procedures
Also starting Wednesday, January 5, the province will restore hospitals to pause all non-emergency or non-emergency surgeries and procedures to preserve the health care system.

The government said the directive is due to the highly infectious Omicron variant that has infected Ontarians at a rate never seen before.

“They will hit us like a tsunami,” Ford said Monday. “I also said prepare for the impact because some people do not understand the volume that is going to affect us.”

Matt Anderson, CEO of Ontario Health, said that in a typical week would see between 8,000 and 10,000 of those surgeries that would be affected by this hiatus.

On Monday, Ontario reported 13,578 new cases with 16,714 on Sunday and a record 18,445 new cases. Hospitalizations and ICUs are on the rise as cases increase.

The province said that with such a rapid increase in cases, hospitalizations will also increase rapidly.