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Ontario ​to reopen restaurant dining at​ 50% capacity beginning Jan. 31, sources say

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Ford announces reopening of gyms, restaurants at 50 per cent capacity starting Jan. 31' COVID-19: Ford announces reopening of gyms, restaurants at 50 per cent capacity starting Jan. 31
WATCH: Ford announces reopening of gyms, restaurants at 50 per cent capacity starting Jan. 31 – Jan 20, 2022

Note: The most updated version of this story can be found here.

Ontario will reopen restaurants to in-person dining at 50 per cent capacity at the end of the month​, senior government sources confirmed on background to Global News.

​They said that restaurants will be able to reopen their dining rooms at 50 per cent capacity beginning on Jan. 31.

Premier Doug Ford is expected to make an official announcement ​on Thursday at 11:30 a.m.

Read more: Restaurant group calls for ‘immediate guidance’ on possible easing of Ontario restrictions next week

The news comes hours after Ford told reporters a “good announcement” would be coming this week regarding restaurants and gyms in the province.

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Currently, only take-out, delivery and patio service ​are allowed in Ontario.

Earlier this month, the province implemented additional restrictions on businesses amid a spike in Omicron cases. The government said the measures would be in place until at least Jan. 26 — next Wednesday.

They included additional capacity limits, a ban on indoor dining and the closure of several types of facilities including gyms, cinemas and museums.

Ford had been hinting for a couple of days now that the province may announce an easing of restrictions sometime this week.

“It’s going to be a positive announcement that we make this week and I look forward to it,” the premier said Wednesday.

“No one dislikes these shutdowns more than I do. I actually despise them, but in saying that, health is a priority and I follow the guidelines of the chief medial officer, but we look forward to having a good announcement for restaurants and gyms and other folks that have been closed.”

Read more: Announcement on Ontario COVID restrictions coming this week, official says

Ford said while his government has worked to provide supports to affected businesses, he knows it’s not the same as when they are open.

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“Let’s open the businesses up and hopefully the patrons will come back and feel confident that they can go to their favourite restaurant or favourite gym or the banquet hall — that’s the most important thing,” he said.

Meanwhile, Restaurants Canada called on the Ontario government to provide “immediate guidance” on the possible easing of restrictions next week.

“Restaurants can’t simply open their doors at a moment’s notice,” Restaurants Canada president and CEO Todd Barclay said in a statement.

Read more: Ontario seeing ‘glimmers of hope’ in Omicron fight, health minister says

In a COVID update Wednesday, Health Minister Christine Elliott, said the province is starting to see “glimmers of hope” in its fight against Omicron.

Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, said the rate of hospitalizations and cases in the intensive care unit are increasing at a slower pace.

He also thanked Ontarians for getting vaccinated and making sacrifices.

“Together, we’ve made an impact and we’ve made a difference,” Moore said.

“And together these efforts will chart our path forward towards a safe and gradual reopening. We must stay cautious. We must stay disciplined and never underestimate this virus as we look to take the small steps forward.”

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— With files from The Canadian Press

Click to play video: 'Tones of optimism from provincial government, hints at easing of restrictions' Tones of optimism from provincial government, hints at easing of restrictions
Tones of optimism from provincial government, hints at easing of restrictions – Jan 19, 2022

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