Restaurants Canada upset after lifting capacity limits for gyms and concert halls but not restaurants

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Restaurants Canada says it is “extremely disappointed” that the Ontario government has chosen to lift capacity limits in some locations, but not for the “hardest hit” restaurant industry.

From Saturday morning, cinemas, theaters, concert halls and sports-entertainment venues as well as racetracks and racetracks are authorized to open at full capacity.

The province says there have been few outbreaks in selected settings and most other public health measures such as masks remain in place.

Capacity rules remain in place in other places requiring proof of vaccination such as gyms and restaurants.

“I was really surprised,” said James Rilett, vice-president, Central Canada, for Restaurants Canada on Saturday.

“We had been talking for weeks with the government to try to lift the restrictions because of the vaccination passport. They had given us all the right signals that this could happen. They had not said it right away, but they indicated that there was a chance that would happen. “

Rillet said the industry has told the Ford government how much revenue it is losing because the vaccine passport requires additional staff to apply for and verify it.

Now, he added, it doesn’t make sense that thousands of people can walk to Rogers Center and scream without a mask, but they can’t sit and dine quietly without distance restrictions in place.

“We don’t understand what the difference is. We’re not saying they shouldn’t be open. We’re saying if they’re open, so should we.”

Friends have drinks together at Princess Thai Restaurant in downtown Toronto on Friday, June 18, 2021 (Sam Nar / CBC) (Sam Nar / CBC)

Restaurant owners are calling and emailing their MPPs to express their frustration, he added. Restrictions on restaurants have been lifted in other provinces, he noted.

Restaurants Canada has called on the province to immediately lift all additional restrictions on the industry and provide additional support to recognize the cost of implementing the vaccine passport program.

Mohamad Fakih, CEO of Paramount Fine Foods, echoed the remarks on social media, saying that while safe reopening is the # 1 priority, restaurants and small businesses are “scapegoats and penalized” .

Ontario Continues To ‘Sing Out’ Food Industry, Group Says

In a statement released Friday, the national non-profit association representing the Canadian restaurant and foodservice industry says it does not understand why the food industry continues to be “singled out” by the government from Ontario.

“It’s incomprehensible that 20,000 people can cram into an arena, scream and congregate tightly without a mask, while restaurants have to adhere to strict distancing rules that drastically restrict the number of customers that can be served,” Restaurants wrote. Canada.

The association says the restaurant industry was the first to shut down at the onset of COVID-19, suffered the longest shutdowns and “deepest restrictions” throughout the pandemic.

He calls on the province to immediately lift any additional restrictions on the industry and provide additional support to recognize the cost of implementing the vaccine passport program.

Premier Doug Ford speaks to media in Queens Park, Toronto, September 22, 2021. Ontario government says it is changing capacity limits based on high vaccination rates, public health indicators policy and vaccine certificate policy. (Evan Mitsui / CBC)

The Ontario government says it is changing capacity limits based on high vaccination rates, stable public health indicators and the vaccine certificate policy.

In a statement on Saturday, the Ontario Ministry of Health defended the government’s decision.

“Restaurants, bars and other eating establishments do not have strict capacity limits, but rather are limited to the number of people who can maintain physical distance. are removed for the entire duration when they are seated, ”said Alex Hilkene, spokesperson for Health Minister Christine Elliott, in an email.

“Indoor fitness classes and personal training are also a higher risk setting where face covers are removed during physical activity,” she continued.

“The Chief Medical Officer of Health will continue to monitor the data and assess when it can be safe to consider lifting the limits in other settings requiring proof of vaccination.”

Physical distancing requirements are lifted along with capacity limits with a few exceptions such as indoor meeting and event spaces, which must always maintain two meters between people.

Expert says decision “confusing”

Infectious disease specialist Dr Zain Chagla told CBC News Network on Saturday that the change in capacity limits for some sites, but not others, is confusing.

“It’s still a little puzzled why this hasn’t been extended to things like gyms and restaurants,” Chagla said.

Chagla noted that masks are still supposed to be worn by customers at sports facilities, where capacity limits have been increased.

“But I think all of us who have seen the Blue Jays game have realized that the mask is not always on in these places. I hope this is just a test to see if that is. works or not, and I hope it can be extended further. “

Chagla said he believed the change was due to the vaccination rate.

“A vaccinated society and the use of vaccination warrants give us a lot of flexibility to be able to get things back to normal.”


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