Sinthia Hoque:-Province’s officials have confirmed on Monday that restaurant workers will receive COVID-19 vaccinations as part of phase two.
Though a detailed list for COVID-19 vaccinations eligibility for phase two was released by officials on March, 5th, the list had not specifically mentioned restaurant workers.
The list was divided into two priority groups, with the first one including teachers, child-care workers, and those involved in food manufacturing or agriculture. The second group included retail workers at high-risk, such as those in grocery stores and pharmacies, as well as lower-risk financial workers.
Just five days after the list was released, CTV News Toronto reached out to the Ministry of Health to confirm if restaurant workers would be included in phase two of the rollout. A week later, a spokesperson for the ministry sent a statement which reiterated the list earlier presented by health officials.
Not long after, CTV News Toronto pressed on the issue again but received no response back.
Restaurants were also told by government officials that the restaurants would not be included, and employees would vaccinated according to their age group.
According to a statement made to CTV News Toronto by James Rilett, VP of the group’s Central Canada Division, updated documents for COVID-19 vaccine eligibility may be possible.
“So it may change, but as of now restaurant employees are not covered in the phase two rollout”, Rilett said at the time.
However, the opposite was confirmed on Monday by three officials. According to a statement made to CTV News by the Ministry of Health, the Premier’s office, and the solicitor general, it has been confirmed that restaurants workers will be a part of the phase two rollout.
No explanations were provided as to why this was unclear earlier this month or why any government official documents or websites haven’t been updated, which specifically convey that restaurant workers are included.
In a statement to CTV News Toronto on Monday afternoon, Rilett said though he has not seen it in writing, he has been receiving messages from officials since last week, implying that restaurants workers would be included in the rollout of phase two.
Phase two, which is set to begin in April, will allow anyone aged 60 and above, those who have a underlying health condition, those who live in a congregate setting, or who is a part of vulnerable population in COVID-19 hot spot with high case count will receive their shot first.
The solicitor general said that residents shouldn’t be so fixated on dates for when they can receive their vaccine.
Given the reopening of indoor dining in most of the province, the solicitor general was asked if there was a possibility of moving restaurant workers up in the list of prioritization, “I don’t think it’s politicians who should be making those decisions”, the solicitor general replied.
News and picture source: CTV NEWS