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Restaurant workers to be vaccinated as part of Phase 2, government officials say

Last Updated Mar 22, 2021 at 8:34 pm EDT

Province-wide restaurant workers will get the COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 2, government officials confirm to 680 NEWS.

Prior to now these workers were not specifically mentioned in government documentation.

Phase 2 begins in April and will start to see shots administered based on risk factors including age, neighbourhood, existing health conditions, and inability to work from home along with those aged 60 to 79.

On March 5, Ontario officials released a list of eligible people for the COVID-19 vaccine during this phase.

The province is planning on vaccinating nine million people in Phase 2 and the updated plan does not include the recently approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

After Phase 2 is completed, everyone between the ages of 16 and 59 will be eligible for their first dose.

Essential workers who cannot work from home, such as restaurant workers and teachers, will be vaccinated in the latter half of Phase 2 which may not start until June.

The province split up workers into different categories including the following:

Those who live and work in congregate settings

All at-risk staff, essential caregivers, and residents from the following congregate settings will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine:

  • Supportive housing
  • Developmental services/intervenor and supported independent living (SIL)
  • Emergency homeless shelters
  • Other homeless populations not in shelters
  • Mental health and addictions congregate settings
  • Homes for special care Violence Against Women (VAW) shelters and Anti-Human Trafficking (AHT) residents
  • Children’s residential facilities
  • Youth justice facilities
  • Indigenous healing and wellness
  • Provincial and demonstration schools
  • Farmworkers who live in congregate settings, including Temporary foreign workers, Bail beds and Indigenous bail beds
  • Adult correctional facilities


Essential workers/those who can’t work from home

Workers who can’t work from home will be vaccinated in two groups encompassing a variety of sectors. The second group will be eligible once the first group has been vaccinated:

The first group of essential workers (730,000 people):

  • Elementary/secondary school staff and bus drivers that transport students
  • Workers responding to critical events (e.g., police, fire, compliance, funeral, special constables)
  • Child care workers
  • Licensed foster care workers
  • Food manufacturing workers
  • Agriculture and farm workers


Remaining workers to be eligible (1.4 million people)

  • High-risk and critical retail workers (grocery and pharmacies)
  • Remaining manufacturing workers
  • Social workers (including youth justice)
  • Courts and justice system workers (including probation and parole)
  • Lower-risk retail workers (wholesalers, general goods)
  • Transportation, warehousing, and distribution
  • Energy, telecom (data and voice), water and wastewater management
  • Financial services
  • Waste management
  • Mining, oil, and gas workers


These include elementary and secondary school staff – as well as bus drivers – food manufacturing workers, childcare workers, and high-risk and critical retail workers such as grocery and pharmacy.

As part of Phase 2 of the rollout, the province will see vaccine shipments ramp up throughout March with the most significant coming from Moderna.

Though non-committal on the matter, Retired Gen. Rick Hillier said mass-vaccinations could begin on June 20, depending entirely on vaccine supply in the coming months.

“Our aim to be is to allow the province of Ontario to have a first needle in the arm of every eligible person who wants it by the first day of summer,” said the retired general.

“That’s the challenge goal I put out there. Twenty of June, coming up.”


  • March 1 and 8: 173,160 doses each week
  • March 15 and 22: 174,330 doses each week
  • March 29: 175,500 doses
  • April 5 and 12: 298,350 doses each week


  • Week of March 8: 160,500 doses
  • Week of March 22: 323,200 doses


The province also says that certain hotspots will receive additional vaccine supplies, such as Toronto, Peel, Durham, Halton, Hamilton, and York.

The Ford government recently modified capacity limits for restaurants and bars across several regions, including Toronto and Peel under Grey-Lockdown, to allow for patio dining.

The Duke of York pub in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood saw lineups with wait times of up to an hour on both Saturday and Sunday, said Cindy Simpson, executive vice-president of Imago Restaurants.

“The weather could not have been better, it was about 15 degrees and sunny each day,” she said.

“I stood outside all weekend, talking to our guests and thanking them for coming, we were so happy to see them and it felt fantastic.”

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