Peggy Sattler MPP, London West

Government of Ontario
 

Hello Neighbour,

What a difference a day makes.

Today the provincial government announced new public health measures to take effect on Sunday, which are detailed below.

Over the last 24 hours, I heard from many frustrated Londoners who were unable to find a free rapid test and unable to book a booster appointment. After neglecting to post London LCBO locations to their holiday testing webpage yesterday, the government oversaw a chaotic roll-out of rapid tests at six LCBO locations in the city. When Londoners went to the stores to pick up the tests, many were told the tests had not arrived yet. When they did finally arrive, there were so few that they were gone in just an hour or two.

I am calling on the government to make millions more rapid test kits available and to distribute them more equitably across the province, in community centres, libraries and other public locations. We should be distributing tests to families and staff in child care centres, and to education workers as well as students to take home over the holidays.

Please watch my Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram feeds for information about access to rapid tests in London, which will be posted as soon as I receive it.

I know that locally-owned businesses, their staff, and workers across the city are worried they can't afford another round of restrictions. My colleagues and I are pushing the government to put business supports in place now for those who will lose income, while also urging the government to get booster shots and rapid tests rolled out faster.

We are also calling for a massive hiring blitz in health care to deal with the chronic understaffing in our hospitals and health care facilities. Nurses and other frontline health care workers are burnt out and exhausted and we will be relying on them to help us through the Omicron wave. As I said in the London Free Press yesterday, this must include repealing Bill 124, the law that caps compensation for nurses and other public sector workers and denies them the respect and compensation they deserve.

Today's new measures include limits on informal social gatherings, which means that many families will be adjusting holiday plans. This is hard news, but it is critical that we do all we can to give booster shots time to take effect to help blunt the Omicron wave.

Finally, but most importantly, I want to thank all of the staff at mass vaccination clinics, pop-up clinics, and pharmacies who are working all out to get doses into arms. I know that the appointments are limited and people are worried about the long waits they are facing to get their booster shots, but we are profoundly grateful to all the frontline workers helping us stay safe!

Take care,

My community office is available to help with provincial programs and services by phone at 519-657-3120 or by email at [email protected] In-person meetings can be arranged by appointment only.

 

New COVID-19 Measures

In response to the latest projections and recommendations from the Ontario COVID-19 Science Table, the province announced the following new measures that will take effect on Sunday, December 19:

  • Social gatherings will be limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors
     
  • Most indoor public settings will have a 50% capacity limit, except when the place or portion of the place is being used for a wedding, a funeral or a religious service, rite, or ceremony. This includes the following settings:
    • Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments and strip clubs
    • Retailers, including grocery stores and pharmacies, and shopping malls
    • Personal care services
    • Non-spectator areas of facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities (e.g. gyms) as well as personal physical fitness trainers
    • Indoor recreational amenities and indoor clubhouses at outdoor recreational amenities
    • Tour and guide services
    • Photography studios and services
    • Marinas and boating clubs
       
  • The following measures will be in place for food and drink establishments:
    • The number of patrons permitted to sit at a table will be limited to 10 people and patrons will be required to remain seated 
    • Bars and restaurants, meeting and event spaces and strip clubs will be required to close by 11 p.m. Take out and delivery will be permitted beyond 11 p.m.
    • Dancing will not be allowed except for workers or performers
    • Food and/or drink services will be prohibited at sporting events; concert venues, theatres and cinemas; casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments; and horse racing tracks, car racing tracks and other similar venues
    • The sale of alcohol will be restricted after 10 p.m. and consumption of alcohol in businesses or settings after 11 p.m.
       
  • The Chief Medical Office of Health will require N95 masks to be used by all health care workers providing direct care to or interacting with a suspected, probable or confirmed case of COVID.


Vaccines and Booster Shots

Everyone born in 2016 or earlier is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario, as well as for an accelerated second dose. Some individuals are now eligible for a third booster dose, and everyone aged 18 and over will be eligible for one as of Monday, December 20. 

Many pharmacy locations are already allowing individuals who will become eligible on Monday to book an appointment on or after that day. MLHU mass vaccination clinics are still only booking booster appointments for those 50+ or with eligible health conditions, and those individuals are encouraged to get their appointment booked right away to get ahead of the rush.

  • Make an appointment at an MLHU mass vaccination clinic
    • Call the Boys & Girls Club transit services at 519-434-9119 (8am - 5:30pm, Monday to Friday) to book a ride if you have mobility issues and cannot get to a clinic yourself
    • You can also get vaccinated in your car at a mass clinic (call 226-289-3560 to book, 8am - 7:30pm, Monday - Friday)
  • Visit a walk-in pop-up clinic
  • Make an appointment at a participating pharmacy -
  • If you cannot leave your home, arrange a vaccination at home (call 519-663-5317, 8am - 7:30pm, Monday - Friday)

Please note that first and second doses are also still available!


For the most up-to-date information, please refer to linked sources and the COVID-19 information provided at the Middlesex-London Health Unit website, COVID-19.Ontario.ca, London.ca/covid-19, Canada.ca/coronavirus. You can also find a range of helpful resources on my website at peggysattler.ca/covid19resources.