Province shuts down strip clubs, limits bar sales to curb growing COVID-19 wave

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If you’re heading out for drinks tonight, expect to be home around midnight.

The provincial government is changing the rules around restaurants, bars and strip clubs to help stem the rising wave of COVID-19 cases.

There were 409 new cases of COVID-19 in the province today, with most in Toronto, Peel and Ottawa. For the past week, the number of people being diagnosed daily is in the 300 to 400 range. That’s the highest it has been since May.

Most of the new cases are in the 20 to 39 year old age group. Health officials are worried the virus is being spread in bars – as in an outbreak at Western University in London – and during private parties.

Last Saturday, the province limited the number of people at private gatherings to 10 indoors and 50 outdoors.

Now, starting Saturday at 12:01 am, bars, restaurants and night clubs can’t sell alcohol after 11 pm, close at midnight and no one can consume alcohol from 12 am to 9 am – including employees.

Strip clubs will be closed across the province.

“As the number of cases have continued to rise, it is evident t hat despite the tremendous efforts of Ontarians further action is required to prevent the spread of the virus,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health in a news release. “On the advice of Ontario’s public health officials, we are moving forward with these measures to help keep Ontarians safe by limiting the potential for exposure in locations where the current risk of transmission is higher, and to avoid future lock downs.”

Officials add the province will be working with municipalities to encourage increased enforcement of existing businesses. The Ministry of Labour has hired over 90 new inspectors to help with the project.