Ontario's plans to lift COVID-19 restrictions not being followed by Quebec, Alberta
Ottawa/IBNS: Ontario's plan to ease restrictions starting from Jan 31 will not be followed by Quebec and Alberta.
Ontario’s plans to ease restrictions starting from Jan 31 were announced jointly by Premier Doug Ford, Health Minister Christine Elliott and Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health at a morning news conference on Thursday.
“We’re taking a cautious approach,” Ford said, before adding he’s “confident” this reopening plan will work and that “the worst is behind us” in terms of new COVID-19 cases.
Many indoor settings would reopen to the public with 50 percent capacity limits, starting Jan 31, including restaurants, bars, and other food establishments without dancing, retailers, including shopping malls, gyms, and non-spectator areas of sports facilities, movie theatres, meetings, and event spaces, museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, and similar attractions; Casinos, bingo halls, and other gaming establishments, Religious services, rites, and ceremonies.
"If trends remain stable or improve, Ontario will move to the next step on Feb. 21, and then March 14," Ford said.
On the other hand in Quebec, although things had seemed to be stabilizing after it reached a peak in COVID-19 hospitalizations, Premier François Legault reportedly said that Quebec is still missing about 12,000 employees absent due to COVID-19 in its healthcare network, and said he was not willing to lift COVID-19 restrictions.
On Jan 20 Quebec had reported 3,411 hospitalizations, with 285 people in intensive care, with 98 additional deaths. The province also reported 6,528 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19.
In Alberta, Premier Jason Kenney on Thursday said the province would only consider relaxing COVID-19 restrictions further if there is a sustained decline in pressure on hospitals.
"I think we can reasonably expect to see 1,500 or more COVID patients in non-ICU beds when we reach the hospitalization peak a little later in January," Kenney said at a news briefing.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)