For the second day in a row, we heard about new measures to be implemented in order to control the spread of Covid-19, which has been on the rise over the last few weeks, and specifically to stop the new Omicron variant in its tracks. “The best defence is a lightning fast offence,” said Doug Ford in a press conference today. But that offence already seems to be coming a day late and a dollar short as boosters have been slow to rollout.
“We will meet this enemy with full force,” said the Premier. Urgently expanding eligibility, as of Monday December 20th, all Ontarians 18 and over will be able to receive their booster 3 months after having received their second shot. Ontario is restarting mass immunization and hospital clinics and the daily capacity is soon to reach between 200,000 to 300,000 doses a day. A new “Stop the Spread” hotline will soon be made available for employers who want to offer on-site vaccinations to their staff. The definition of “fully vaccinated” is not anticipated to change for the time being, but may be redefined in the future. Ontarians can use the portal at https://covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine/ or call 1-833-943-3900 to book or rebook their appointment.
Furthermore, as of Saturday December 18th, 12:01 am, indoor venues with more than 1000 capacity will have to operate at 50% capacity, the only additional measure implemented in community settings. No school closures. No teams sports pause. No reduction in capacity elsewhere. Restaurants, movie theaters, gyms and other venues can continue to operate regularly. “We aren’t going to lock down the system and try to get out of this,” said Ford, implying that vaccinations are the only way out.
The province is also working on distributing free Rapid Tests in high traffic areas such as malls and LCBO’s will also be pickup locations. Tests were also sent home today with students, but there is no mandatory testing for returning to school after the Christmas break as of now.
The federal government has advised against non-essential travel abroad.