Ontario moves back to Step 2
By Adam FreillHealth & Safety
Remote work advised, where possible.
This morning, in response to the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, the Ontario government announced that it is moving the province to a modified Step 2 of its Roadmap to Reopen.
As such, Ontario is mandating businesses to have employees work remotely, unless the nature of their work requires them to be on-site. This should allow construction activity to continue, although employers are advised to continue following COVID-related health protocols at construction sites.
Effective Wednesday, January 5, and lasting until at least January 26, the province is also reducing social gathering limits to five people indoors and 10 people outdoors. Capacity at organized public events will be five people indoors and indoor meeting and event spaces will be closed, with limited exceptions. Outdoor spaces may remain open, with restrictions. Additional details can be found on the province’s website.
The government hopes that these measures will help blunt transmission and prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. Unlike other variants, explained Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Omicron is less severe, but has high transmissibility. This has resulted in a larger number of hospital admissions relative to ICU admissions and created concern about capacity. Approximately one per cent of Omicron cases require hospital care.
“As we continue with our provincial vaccine booster efforts, we must look at every option to slow the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford.
For more information about this latest round of restrictions as well as COVID-19 protocols in the province, visit https://covid-19.ontario.ca. For business-related programs, visit https://covid-19.ontario.ca/covid-19-help-businesses-ontario.