Clampdown on bars, restaurants as COVID-19 cases rise

Ontario Premier Doug Ford. (Premier's Office of Ontario via Newswatch Group)

TORONTO – The provincial government has ordered bars and restaurants, and others serving food and drink to close at midnight starting Saturday.

The government says it’s amending its Stage 3 order based on the increase in new COVID-19 cases in the last five weeks.

Licenced establishments won’t be able to serve alcohol after 11 p.m. and booze consumption won’t be allowed between midnight and 9 a.m., including employees.

They must be closed between midnight and 5 a.m. except for takeout and delivery.

All strip clubs are being closed across the province.

This follows last week’s change in social gathering limits to 25 outdoors and 10 indoors, but the government says the number of cases continues to rise.

While private social gatherings have been a source of virus transmission, the province says there are “outbreak clusters” connected to these establishments, especially in people 20-39 years old.

The amended order takes effect at 12:01 a.m. Saturday.