Toronto Public Health vice-chair questions city’s COVID-19 policy
TORONTO – The city is continuing its crackdown on private cannabis clubs in a move that will also affect bars and restaurants.
On Tuesday, city officials warned that cannabis clubs would have to stop serving alcohol or face closure if they don’t abide by the Public Health Office’s recommendations, as they can serve alcohol only to those 21 and older.
“It’s a ridiculous policy,” Toronto Public Health vice-chair Dr. Elizabeth Wong-Tam told CP24 on Tuesday. “We had to get rid of private clubs as they had become a source of public intoxication.”
Toronto Public Health is also recommending that bars reduce hours at their locations, and not serve alcohol until 2:00 am, or after 17:00.
The recommendations are based on an expert panel’s report on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the city.
“The key takeaway is that the health-related consequences we’re seeing from COVID-19 are greater than what we are seeing with the regular flu season,” Wong-Tam said. “People are getting sick, going to the hospital, they’re spending time at home without their usual activities. This seems to be the perfect storm.”
Toronto Public Health is also recommending alcohol be brought to bars only by delivery person and not by the bar. The recommendation comes after the city’s COVID Task Force announced that bars must follow “proper hygiene” and sanitation practices.
“Bar owners have been saying that now that we’ve issued a recommendation for alcohol service they are not going to serve alcohol unless someone gets a permit from the City of Toronto,” Wong-Tam said. “They’re going to keep serving cannabis. The bars are going to shut down.”
Toronto Public Health will also continue to enforce the ban on private cannabis clubs in the city, which now prohibits cannabis clubs from using the city’s official address as their address on their club sign.
“We’d like to make it clear that we will also be enforcing these recommendations if we continue to receive complaints,” Wong-Tam said.
“We are very pleased that the city has responded to our recommendation; this is good news