Foodservice industry ‘singled out’ by Ontario’s capacity limit change: advocates

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Published October 9, 2021 at 11:02 am

empty restaurant

Restaurants Canada says it’s “extremely disappointed” that the Ontario government has chosen to lift capacity limits in some venues, but not for the “hardest-hit” foodservice industry.

As of Saturday morning (Oct. 10), cinemas, theatres, concert and spectator sports venues and car and horse racing tracks are allowed to open at full capacity.

The province says there have been few outbreaks in the 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.

In a statement issued Friday, the national, non-profit association representing Canada’s restaurant and foodservice industry says it doesn’t understand why the food industry continues to be “singled out” by the Ontario government.

“It is beyond comprehension that 20,000 people can cram into an arena, scream, and closely congregate without masks, while restaurants must adhere to strict distancing regulations which severely restrict the number of customers that can be served,” Restaurants Canada wrote.

The association says the restaurant industry was the first to be closed during the onset of COVID-19, has suffered the longest closures and the “deepest restrictions” throughout the pandemic.

It is calling on the province to immediately lift all further restrictions on the industry and provide additional support to recognize the cost of implementing the vaccine passport program.

The Ontario government says it’s making the capacity limit changes based on high vaccination rates, stable public health indicators and the vaccine certificate policy.

Physical distancing requirements are lifting along with capacity limits with some exceptions such as indoor meeting and event spaces, which must still maintain two metres between people.

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