Niagara Falls Mayor happy to hear government close to lifting hospitality sector COVID-19 restrictions

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Published October 14, 2021 at 2:01 pm

News that Premier Doug Ford is on the verge of lifting COVID-19 restrictions in restaurants, bars and gyms was greeted warmly in the Niagara Region.

Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati, who has seen his city’s businesses getting severely hobbled throughout the pandemic, told insauga.com that it was welcome news.

“I’m very much in support of these further restrictions being lifted,” said Diodati.  “In the hospitality sector, as an example, Niagara Falls established ‘safetoplay.ca’ protocols that have been followed from the outset and have a very good track record of having kept patrons, visitors and employees safe.”

Alluding to the fact that sports venues saw all restrictions lifted last week, Diodati continued, “With our excellent uptake in vaccinations and wide acceptance of COVID protocols, it makes sense to finally allow these sectors to be treated consistently with large gatherings, sports and concert venues.”

“These are some of the people whose businesses have been impacted the most and they need our support.”

Currently restaurants, bars and gyms are only allowed to operate at 50 per cent capacity plus all regular masking, social distancing and proof of vaccination rules.

If the persistent rumours are true, Ford will lift the capacity limits, something business owners – and many local politicians – have been pushing for especially since Ontario allowed the broader re-opening of sporting events, concerts and movie theatres last week. All the other rules would remain in place.

“This is the right thing to do at this time,” a government source told insauga.com. “The Premier wants to make this happen. He knows how important it is to help businesses survive.”

While the pandemic certainly remains with us, case numbers of COVID-19 have been on the decline in Ontario during the past week and the vaccination rate continues to climb, both indicators that the government is ready to make the move, according to the source.

As well, a broader re-opening of society could coincide with the launch next week of Ontario’s vaccination application that will make it easier for the public to prove vaccination status when entering a business or other establishments.

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