Ontario has been back in a modified Step Two for just over a week – but restrictions may not lift as soon as some Ontarians hope.
In a press conference on January 13, Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario's chief medical officer of health, says he "can't guarantee" that the new restrictions will lift on January 26 like originally planned.
However, as soon as they know, they want to "inform the businesses community."
"We want to be able to give them clarity. But we don't have it yet. We're watching the data very closely and we're reviewing it absolutely every single day. I think we will get greater clarity next week if we're going to plateau with our intensive care unit and hospitalization data."
"We saw a sudden rise of admissions to hospital and the intensive care unit, I think secondary to the holiday season. Our public health measures have just been put in on the fifth. We should start to see that benefit of the sacrifices that Ontarians have made next week," said Moore.
"So I can't guarantee the 26. Please stay tuned; we will be watching the same data as those experts at the science table and we collaborate with them to be able to inform public health measures."
The Ontario government retreated to a modified Step Two in an attempt to protect the health care system and diminish the impact of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant in the province.
Since January 5, restaurants and bars have not been able to host indoor dining, and gyms have been closed entirely under new public health measures. Schools were also closed for in-person learning; however, students will be returning on January 17.
On top of this, 50% capacity limits have been placed on a variety of establishments such as retail and personal care services, and social gathering limits have been tightened to smaller groups of five people indoors and 10 people outdoors.