COVID-19: the singing is forbidden in restaurants in Ontario

COVID-19: le chant interdit dans les restaurants de l’Ontario

COVID-19: le chant interdit dans les restaurants de l’Ontario


June 16, 2020 10h04


COVID-19: the singing is forbidden in restaurants in Ontario

Michelle McQuigge

The Canadian Press

TORONTO – You can whistle while you work to help Ontario recover from the pandemic COVID-19, but of grace, don’t sing.

This is the essential message of the provincial government, which included an expressed prohibition of singing – and even dancing – in some parts of its plan for the reopening of the businesses temporarily closed because of the epidemic.

Stage 2 of the plan of economic recovery of Ontario contains many guidance documents for the sectors allowed to resume or expand their activities.

The guidelines prepared for the restaurants and the bars indicate that the singing and dancing are not permitted in the outdoor areas where customers are currently permitted to meet in a limited number.

Documents indicate that the song is also prohibited in child care centres and discouraged in the places of worship that have received the green light to reopen their doors across Ontario in the last week.

The provincial Health department, said that the directives anti-song are supported by science, and doctors with expertise in the field are in agreement.

“It is disgusting to think about, but every time we talk, we spit on the world that surrounds us,” said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, a physician-scientist specializing in infectious diseases at Toronto general Hospital.

“And if we sing, cry, or breathe heavily, we expulsons probably more in saliva and nasal secretions, ( … ), and if someone is infected, then secretions will spread more virus.”

Dr. Bogoch said that the rules may seem extreme, but that they likely arise from a tragedy that took place in the United States at the beginning of the confinement in this country.

According to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the new coronavirus has affected a choir in Washington State who had gathered for rehearsals in early march. The report revealed that two members of the Skagit Valley Chorale died of COVID-19, and up to 87 % of the members of the choir have been confirmed cases or probable.

“The transmission has probably been facilitated by the proximity (…) during the rehearsal and helped by the act of singing,” says the report.

The spokesman for the ministry of Health in ontario, Hayley Chazan, has declared that similar ideas had been expressed in the directives of the province.

“The evidence indicates that the song may present a higher risk than normal speech, in particular the singing in a loud voice”, she argued.

The guidelines of the Ontario varies slightly depending on the sector, the advice to restaurants stating that”no dancing or singing may not be permitted in the outdoor areas”, which are the only ones allowed to be used during step 2.

The guidelines on places of worship, currently authorized to operate at 30 % capacity throughout the province, are even more accurate.

The government has stipulated that the faithful should abstain from singing and leave the task to a solo singer placed at least four meters of the people gathered in the church. The wind instruments are also not recommended, according to the same guidelines.

Neil MacCarthy, spokesman for the archdiocese of Toronto, said that the catholic churches have already begun to observe the new rules. He stated that the parishioners are also encouraged to wear masks, a measure which, according to him, makes people even more hesitant to start singing.

James Rilett, vice-president of Restaurants Canada for the central region, has not questioned the government’s instructions.

“The “live” music and the dance could be revisited once that Ontario will go further and ease the emergency measures in the field of health and safety, but for the moment, this restriction does not hinder the plans of re-opening,” noted Mr Rilett.

The recommendations for the sector of child care discourage the activities of singing performed inside. The directives of the ministry of Health for day camps discourages also the song inside and encourage the protocols of distancing physical standard for singing outside.

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