Ontario’s top doctor is now recommending that bars and restaurants close temporarily to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Even before the latest advice from Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, some large chains had already decided to shut down or change the way they operate.
“We’re caught in this whirlwind where things are evolving very quickly,” says bar owner Bruce Davis.
Davis owns The Alibi on Princess Street and says up until Monday afternoon, he had made the business decision to stay open.
But that was until Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said late Monday that he recommends that all bars and restaurants close temporally — on the eve of St. Patrick’s day — the Super Bowl in the bar business, according to Davis.
“Our customers have continued to come in,” says Davis, “even in the last three or four weeks as this has evolved.
“Last week was great, we had a great month. So customers are continuing to support local businesses, but we can’t stay open if the medical authorities are recommending closing.”
On Monday, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa was more direct.
De Villa recommended that bars and restaurants stop in-person and dine-in service by 12:01 a.m. Tuesday or face hefty fines.
The parent company of Tim Hortons has directed restaurant owners to close their dining rooms effective Tuesday, in an effort to reduce the possible spread of COVID-19.
Drive-thrus will still be open.
Several other restaurants and bars in downtown Kingston have already closed their doors, including the multinational retailer Urban Outfitters on Princess Street.
A sign on the door reads, “For the safety and precaution of the community, all Urban Outfitters stores will be closed until further notice.”
“This will have a knock-on effect through the economy and we will see what kind of relief there will be for employees.