Seven confirmed variant infections at an area steak house where 200 dined

News 100 redBy Staff

March 23rd, 2021



The Regional Medical Officer of Health issues instructions for food & drink establishments a few days after the public learns of the spread of a variant Covid19 at an area steak house that is reported to have served 200 people.  Seven have been found to have been infected with the variant.

On March 20, 2021, the Province announced adjustments to dining capacity limits at restaurants, bars, and other food and drink establishments for regions in the Grey/Lockdown, Red/Control, Orange/Restrict and Yellow/Protect levels of the COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open.

For Halton in the Red/Control level, changes include allowing up to 50 per cent capacity of the indoor dining area, to a maximum of 50 patrons, so long as physical distancing requirements are met.

As an added measure to protect the safety of staff, patrons and the broader community, Dr. Meghani, Halton Region’s Medical Officer of Health has issued instructions to owners, operators and other persons responsible for restaurants, bars, food trucks, concession stands and other indoor and outdoor food or drink establishments.

These instructions are being issued as we continue to see cases of COVID-19 in Halton region and have experienced outbreaks and community transmission of Variants of Concern (VOCs). These instructions take effect at 12:01 a.m. March 23, 2021, and are in addition to Provincial measures identified in the Framework.

Olivers steakhouse

Regional Health Unit contacting 200 people who dined at Oliver’s

Oliver’s Steak House

Further to our investigation, Halton Region Public Health has confirmed two additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of staff infected to seven. As a result, Halton Region Public Health is extending the exposure period to up to and including Thursday, March 18. We are asking all patrons who dined at Oliver’s Steakhouse between March 8 and March 18 to self-isolate for 14 days after their visit, and to get tested for COVID-19.

All seven confirmed cases are of a variant of concern. The  Halton Region Public Health’s investigation and case and contact management is ongoing, it is estimated that the total number of people exposed during this time is more than 200.

Let me see if I have this right.  The Public Health Unit loosens up the restrictions on dining out while the units investigation, case and contact management teams are scrambling to get in touch with the people who dined at the restaurant.

Sometime in April we will learn how many people were infected and if there were any deaths as a result


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4 comments to Seven confirmed variant infections at an area steak house where 200 dined

  • Rob n

    There’s no way I’ll be inside any restaurant in the foreseeable future.

    Or the gym.

    The risk is too high.

  • Rob n

    Last year the Province made good progress by closing many businesses. Painful economically, but health wise it was the right step.

    These half measures are satisfying no one. They will delay us getting back to ‘normal’.

    Ford should have closed the province down early and hard. New Zealand has been successful with this approach.

    That’s how you win battles. Compare Desert Storm (Bush Sr.) vs the drawn out, (19 years?) of whatever Bush Jr.’s Iraq offensive is.

  • Tom Muir

    This contradictory policy of opening restaurants and other indoor business spaces, with more capacity indicates to me that the Ford government still does not understand that you can’t have an economy that works if you don’t focus on eliminating the virus.

    But their message seems to assume that it can by what they say – “As a result nearly all businesses and public spaces, including indoor restaurants, ski hills, gyms, playgrounds, pet groomers, osteopathic practitioners will be able to reopen as part of Ontario’s revised and strengthened COVID-19 Response Framework”.

    And more recently indoor restaurant capacity maximum went from 10 to 50, or even 100. Other business capacity increased too.

    Where is the evidence that this can be done successfully? Certainly not in this story, and many places elsewhere.

    This is the same mistake that many other governments have made. You can’t politicize the policies of public health and trade it off with economy, and have something that succeeds.

    With growing number of variants, this just makes the variant problem worse as transmission and more cases act to exert evolutionary pressures on the virus to mutate more..

    Previous lock-downs are the reason why cases went down in the first 2 waves, Open the economy in our present situation, and you get more cases and another wave. Vaccination cannot yet keep up.

    The worst places to open are indoor restaurants, bars, (where no masks are required most of the time), gyms, and any close contact enclosed spaces.

    Opening and then increasing capacity, is nuts when Ontario is growing cases at the high level shown. Restaurants and bars have been identified from the start as spreaders – small indoor spaces, poorly ventilated, indoor circulation, no masks for most of the time, wait staff circulate.

    And as Penny notes break the family bubble for table occupancy by carpooling, as here, and then working the entire shift together in what is for them a crowded space where distancing doesn’t work.

    Hamilton is said to be on the verge of lock-down again, and this Oakville restaurant has an outbreak of variants. Halton and Burlington are in a surge from the case count charts, and the reproduction rate has been 1.0 to 1.2 recently. At most this rate should be 0.7 and below for variants.

    This policy is not health based. Remember Ontario Health lead Williams saying 100 to 200 cases/day was what he was looking for back last year, and now we have a surge underway at 1600-1800 day, and Ford opens things up even more?

    I can go on, but nuts.

    Tom Muir

  • Penny Hersh

    Comments from the owner of Oliver’s indicates that staff members were carpooling and this outbreak could be the end result.

    I have said from the start that once restaurant staff leave their place of employment the “bubble” is broken. Restaurant staff work in tight quarters and there is no such thing as “physical distancing” and no mandate for mask wearing in the kitchen.

    This is not the first restaurant that contributed to a Covid outbreak. Was having a steak worth the risk of Covid 19? Not for me, but obviously yes for the 200 patrons who were potentially exposed.

    Unfortunately the pace of vaccinating people is not keeping up with the variants spreading through the community.

    STAY HOME, ORDER IN IF YOU MUST, we are in a 3rd wave with much more serious variants. Or DON’T – the decision is yours to make, until the Province is once again locked down.