Jan 03, 2022

By Steve Kee

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Ontario is moving schools online and pausing non-urgent surgeries in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Premier Doug Ford announced the plan today along with other restrictions on businesses and gatherings aimed at controlling the highly contagious Omicron variant.

The measures will take effect on Wednesday, when the province’s chief medical officer will reinstate a directive ordering hospitals to pause all non-emergent and non-urgent surgeries to preserve critical care capacity.

Indoor dining rooms, gyms and other indoor gathering spaces must close on Wednesday, while personal care services and retail stores will be limited to 50 per cent capacity and indoor social gatherings will be capped at five people.

The government says the school closure will last until at least Jan. 17 and free child-care will be provided for frontline workers with school-aged children.

It’s also offering rebate payments for certain businesses that are ordered to close or reduce capacity.

As of January 2, 2022, more than 27 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, with more than 90 per cent of Ontarians aged 12 and over having received at least one dose and more than 88 per cent having received at least a second dose. More than 43 per cent of children aged five to 11 have received their first dose and over 3.7 million booster doses have been administered including to 47 per cent of individuals aged 50 and over and more than 31 per cent of individuals aged 18 and over.

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