Ontario suspends easing of COVID-19 capacity limits out of 'abundance of caution'

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Popular buffet restaurant, Tucker's Marketplace in the ByWard Market is seen closed as a result of measures taken to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Ottawa

(Reuters) - Political leaders in Ontario, Canada have suspended a plan to lift restrictions on the number of people who can congregate in restaurants, bars and other settings, saying a cautious approach was needed with a rise in COVID-19 infections.

Ontario government officials had set Nov. 15 as the date they would lift capacity limits in so-called "high-risk settings" that also include night clubs, dance halls and strip clubs.

The officials said a recent increase in the number of reported COVID-19 infections had been noted with the onset of winter, although the province has some of the lowest case numbers in Canada.

"To protect our hard-fought progress and ensure we can continue to manage COVID-19 for the long-term, more time is needed before we can take the next step forward in our reopening plan," government officials said in a written statement.

The government and province chief medical officer would monitor case data for the next 28 days to determine when the capacity limits could be lifted, the statement said.

According to a daily by the Ontario Ministry of Health, the province had confirmed 454 COVID-19 cases on Nov. 9, an increase of .1 percent since the day before.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; editing by Diane Craft)

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