Indoor dining should be shut down.

With patio season quickly coming to an end and COVID-19 cases increasing daily in Ontario, indoor dining should be closed.

As of Oct. 7, Ontario has over 56-thousand confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to Public Health Ontario, and numbers are going up by the hundreds daily.

Recently, Ontario has taken some steps in the right direction.

The last time there were this many active cases of COVID-19 the province was still under phase two restrictions. So why hasn’t the provincial government done anything to stop the spread aside from restricting the size of gatherings?

Bars are expected to follow new guidelines, including last call at 11 p.m. and indoor dining closed by midnight.

Social gathering sizes were changed to 25 people at outside gatherings, originally 100 and 10 indoors, originally 50. The change was made by Ontario Premier Doug Ford on Sept. 19.

Restricting the size of gatherings is beneficial, but only if it is being implemented everywhere. In Ontario, bars and restaurants are not expected to follow the new restricted gather sizes.

Recently, Ontario has taken some steps in the right direction. Bars are expected to follow new guidelines, including last call at 11 p.m. and indoor dining closed by midnight.

Ford has said social gatherings are one of the biggest culprits for the spread – and although small gatherings don’t help, Toronto’s Public Health suspects bars and restaurants to be the source increasing the spread.

In bars and restaurants, customers are expected to wear a mask or facial covering while walking around the building until seated. Although social distance guidelines are being followed at most locations, the risk is still there for further spread.

The province is currently under stage three restrictions.

According to the Government of Ontario, communities are to enter stage three when it is “safe to do so” based on trend information released from Public Health officials.

Phase three, which started on July 17, is referred to as the “long-term recovery” phase, according to Ontario’s framework for reopening the province. This allowed most businesses and public spaces to gradually reopen.

On Sept. 28, 700 active cases were reported. The highest number the province had seen since April. As of Oct. 8, there was a new record high of 797 daily cases.

Since the beginning of September, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) has reported multiple COVID-19 cases directly linked to bars and restaurants.

Yonge Street warehouse district located in Downtown Toronto had seven people, including five workers, test positive for COVID-19 over seven days, according to Toronto Public Health.

Seven people… that’s not so bad, right? But break down the number of people who wined and dined at the Yonge Street location over those seven days – approximately 1700, according to Toronto Public Health.

The proof is in numbers: bars and restaurants should prepare for closing before things get out of control and the Government of Ontario should be looking at their options keeping in mind what is best not only for the economy but, for the people who live in Ontario.

So, maybe order in instead of dining out.

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