The head of the organization, which represents over 43,000 physicians and medical students, said in a statement that opening bars indoors carries a “significant risk.”
“When people consume alcohol, inhibitions are lowered, making them much less likely to practise physical distancing, proper masking behaviours and good hand hygiene,” OMA President Dr. Samantha Hill said.
“Indoor locations with decreased air ventilation present a particularly high risk of transmission.”
Much of the province moved to Stage 3 of reopening on Friday, which allows for the resumption of indoor operations at restaurants and bars, albeit with strict public health measures in place.
Customers must remain seated and be physically distanced between those at different tables.
In their statement, the OMA cited recent examples in which bars have been linked to COVID-19 outbreaks in different parts of the world, including in Montreal where at least 30 cases have been tied to nine establishments.
Experts have previously told Global News that bars and nightclubs pose a serious risk in spreading the virus.
“It is important to note that in many of these cases, the bars were following public safety guidelines and yet transmission still occurred,” the OMA said.
“If people are attending bars, it is imperative that they continue to employ social distancing measures.”
New COVID-19 screening clinics open in Montreal after long lines, cases linked to bars
Global News reached out to the Ministry of Health for a response to the statement and was redirected to the Ministry of Finance.
“We appreciate that the OMA has shared their point of view and share their concern for the health and safety of the people of Ontario,” said Emily Hogeveen, spokesperson for Finance Minister Rod Phillips.
“The three stages of A Framework to Reopen Our Province are based on advice from the Chief Medical Officer of Health.”
Hogeveen noted that public health measures must be in place at bars and said health officials are continuously monitoring the situation to determine if more restrictions could be loosened or tightened.
“Most important, everyone will need to keep treating each other with respect and acting responsibly by following public health advice,” Hogeveen said.
“We’re confident they will, just as they have throughout the global pandemic.”
— With files from Kalina Laframboise
Coronavirus: Ford says Ontario working to get 3 remaining long-term care homes out of the “red zone”
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Watch live: Ontario Premier Doug Ford makes an announcement – CTV Toronto
Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he’s still pushing to “knock down” the 14-day quarantine for travellers returning into Canada from overseas.
Ford made the comment on Wednesday afternoon after being asked whether border restrictions between Canada and the United States should be tightened given the escalating number of COVID-19 cases in both countries.
In response to the question, Ford said he still pushing to replace the quarantine with a rapid COVID-19 testing program, similar to what Alberta implemented earlier this year.
Under the plan, international travellers receive a COVID-19 test upon entering Canada before going into quarantine. If the test comes back negative, those travellers are allowed to leave quarantine but will have to take another test six or seven days after their initial arrival.
“We’re working with the federal government right now at Toronto Pearson to reduce the downtime once you come back,” Ford said. “You have to quarantine for 14-days, we want to knock that down.”
“I’m really pushing it because if you can land and you can get tested right away and then you get tested, I think it’s five to seven days later, and they both come out negative, you should be able to go on your way.”
Ford said he is expecting an answer later Wednesday afternoon on the status of the pilot project.
Ford went on to say that he believes the federal government needs to “step it up” when it comes to travellers returning in to Canada and at the very least take people’s temperatures.
“Don’t just let them walk off and hop in a taxi and away they go,” Ford said.
He also said he believes that some people are not adhering the quarantine rules when arriving back in Canada.
Feds plan to provide Canadians with tools to fight coronavirus vaccine misinformation – Global News
Speaking to reporters at the 2020 Canadian Immunization Conference on Wednesday, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said the webinars will include a broad range of topics, including Health Canada regulatory perspectives, the different types of vaccines that will be available to Canadians, how to run immunization clinics as well as guidance for use from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization.
“Because of the social media and its Internet age, we’ve got even more of a challenge on our hands than anyone else in tackling pandemics of the past,” said Tam, adding that it was important Canadians understood how vaccines are developed.
“The regulatory process is rigorous and (the federal government) would only provide vaccines that have gone through safety evaluations and efficacy evaluations.”
An Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for Global News found a majority of Canadians surveyed, 59 per cent, said they would still support for mandatory COVID-19 vaccines — but more than 70 per cent said they would feel nervous taking a vaccine that went through such quick development.
Tam said the webinars will seek to dispel some of those fears, and explain how scientists were able to compress years worth of vaccine research into what she described as an “incredible global collaboration that has resulted in vaccines being available essentially within the year of the start of a pandemic.”
U.K. becomes first country to approve Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine
The top health official did not explicitly say when the webinars would be rolling out, but said to “expect the first webinars to be delivered very shortly.”
Tam’s announcement comes as Health Canada reviews multiple vaccine candidates, including Pfizer and BioNtech’s, which became the world’s first vaccine to receive approval after it was authorized by British health officials earlier on Wednesday.
The federal government has so far secured a minimum of 20 million doses from Pfizer and BioNtech, with the option to secure millions more if they’re approved.
According to Tam, Canadians can expect to see the first shipments of the vaccine roll out early next year, adding that front-line workers, high-risk groups like seniors and those in more isolated Indigenous communities will be considered for prioritization.
“As we roll out a vaccine, we have to take into account who is most at risk — at risk of exposure of severe outcomes and ensuring that these populations have priority access,” she said.
“Vaccine developers in phase three clinical trials are including some of these key populations.”
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Are you worried that people in other countries might get a COVID-19 vaccine first? – Castanet.net
A new poll suggests most Canadians aren’t currently worried that people in other countries might get a COVID-19 vaccine first.
Thirty-seven per cent of respondents to a survey conducted by Léger and the Association for Canadian Studies say they are very concerned that Canada may not receive doses of a new COVID vaccine as early as the United States.
“That’s not necessarily low, but I think most pundits would have expected this number to be much higher,” said Léger executive vice-president Christian Bourque.
Meanwhile, 48 per cent say they are not concerned about getting a vaccine first and 10 per cent say they don’t care at all or are not planning to get vaccinated anyway.
Getting a vaccine before other countries doesn’t seem to be “a major (issue for the Liberal government), which is contrary to what we might have thought … when the prime minister actually said that we would not be the first ones to get doses,” Bourque said.
The amount of concern regarding getting a COVID-19 vaccine first varies along party lines, with 45 per cent of self-identified Conservative supporters saying they are very concerned that Canada may not receive doses of a new COVID vaccine at the same time as other countries. Only 38 per cent of Liberal supporters say they are concerned.
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